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Selected Papers of the {Fifty International Congress 
of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. 


Philadelphia, September 1-9, 1956 

Edited under the Chairmanship of 

Anthonv F. C. Wallace 


1960 by the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania 

Published in Great Britain, India, and Pakistan 

by the Oxford University Press 

London, Bombay, and Karachi 

*.,.. Made and P rinted in Great Britain by 
William Clowes and Sons, Limited, London and 



H. Baldus 
Daryll Forde 
B. S. Guha 
R. Heine-Geldern 
K. G. Izikowitz 
H. Larsen 

Froelich G. Rainey (United States) 



(United Kingdom) 





T. F. Mcllwraith 

A. Mendez 


H. Petri 

A. H. Schultz 

H. V. Vallois 



Secretaries : William N. Fenton 
Alfred Kidder II 

Executive Secretary : Yvonne Oddon 

Deputy Secretary : Martha T. Everett 


National Academy of Sciences 
National Research Council 
Washington 25, D.C. 


Chairman : Froelich G. Rainey 
Finance: Clyde Kluckhohn 
Program: Melville J. Herskovits 
Local Arrangements : Alfred Kidder I 
Foreign Delegations: H. B. Collins, Jr 
Sponsoring: William Duncan Strong 
Translation: E. H. Ackerknecht 
Members at Large: 

Loren C. Eiseley 

A. Irving Hallowell 

Alfred Metraux 


Loren C. Eiseley 

Frederica de Laguna 

William L. Thomas, Jr. 

Anthony F. C. Wallace, Chairman 


American Anthropological Association 

Bryn Mawr College 

The Ford Foundation 

Longwood Foundation, Inc. 

National Academy of Sciences National Research Council 

The National Science Foundation 

Philadelphia Anthropological Society 

United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization 

The University of Pennsylvania 
The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research 

Published with financial assistance from UNESCO 

and under the auspices of the International 

Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies and of the 

International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. 


The accompanying papers have been selected by the Publication Committee 
as representative of the papers presented at the Fifth International Congress of 
Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences in Philadelphia, September 1-9, 
1956. Because of financial limitations, we have been able to publish less than 
half of the papers actually delivered at the Congress. Nevertheless, we have 
tried to make a selection which would be approximately representative of the 
several sciences and of the various countries who joined in the Congress. 
Many excellent papers have had to be left out; to the authors of these, the 
Publication Committee extends its sincere apologies for the inconvenience 
imposed on them by the exigencies of the situation. A list of the papers presented 
at the Congress is included in the publication. In order to provide as much 
space as possible for the scientific papers, we have not included the official 
acts of the Congress in this publication. 

June 27, 1957 

Publication Committee 
Loren C. Eiseley 
Frederica de Laguna 
William L. Thomas, Jr. 
Anthony F. C. Wallace, Chairman 
Editorial Subcommittee 
Glen L. Finch 
Arlene J. Fonaroff 
Alfred Kidder II 
J. Alden Mason 


Preface vii 

Papers Delivered to the Fifth International Congress of Anthropological 
and Ethnological Sciences xvii 



The Hiawatha Wampum Belt of the Iroquois League for Peace : A Symbol 
for the International Congress of Anthropology 3 



Current Trends in the Development of American Ethnology 1 1 


Recent Developments in the Study of the Prehistory of Western Asia 1 9 


Anthropology and the Smithsonian Institution 23 


Anthropologie Physique en U.R.S.S. 29 

Summary of Paleo- Anthropological Investigation in the U.S.S.R. 34 


Recent Trends in British Social Anthropology 37 


Trends in European Prehistory 43 


Recent Developments in Ethnological Theory in Europe 49 


Recent Developments and Trends in Ethnological Studies in China 54 


Current Trends in Ethnography in the U.S.S.R. 59 


Recent Developments in American Archeology 64 


Recent Developments in the Field of Genetics 74 



Individual Variation in Culture 87 


Conflict and Congruence in Anthropological Theory 93 


Culture and Human Behavior 98 

x Men and Cultures 


Anthropology and Art 1 05 


%um Problem der Konstanz in der Ethnologic 1 12 


A Microcultural Analysis of Time 1 18 


Thoughts on Methodology for Comprehension of an Oral Literature 123 


Recreative Behavior and Culture Change 130 


The Use of Typology in Anthropological Theory 134 


Archeological Typology in Theory and Practice 1 4 1 

Jazz Choreology 152 


Methodological Problems of Free Doll Play as an Ethnographic Field 
Technique 1 6 1 


A New Framework for Studies of Folklore and Survivals 168 


A System for Describing and Analyzing the Regulation of Coordinated 
Activity 1 75 


Typology in the Area of Social Organization 183 


Aesthetics in "Primitive" Societies 189 


Acculturation 192 


Withdrawal, An Early Means of Dealing with the Supernatural 197 


Subsystem Typology in Linguistics 202 


The Ethnic Dimension of Human History: Pattern or Patterns of Culture? 207 



Some Similarities between Ards of the Balkans, Scandinavia, and Anterior Asia, 

and Their Methodological Significance 22 1 


Slash-and-burn Agriculture: A Closer Look at its Implications for Settlement 
Patterns 229 

Contents xi 


Northwest Coast Northeast Asiatic Similarities : A New Hypothesis 235 


Techniques of Preparing Manioc Flour as a Key to Culture History in 
Tropical America 241 


Culture Stability and Change among the Seminoles of Florida 249 


The Evolution of Status Systems in Polynesia 255 


Les Tendances Modernes de I* Evolution des Societes Melanesiennes (Nouvelles- 
Htbrides et Nouvelle-CaUdonie] 261 


A Re-Evaluation of the Cultural Position of the Nootka 270 


Theoretical Considerations Concerning the Problem of Pre-Columbian 
Contacts between the Old World and the New 277 


Ethnology and High Civilization, Exemplified by Ancient Egypt 282 


Rivalry and Superiority : Two Dominant Features of the Sumerian Culture 
Pattern 287 


Plow Complex, Culture Change and Cultural Stability 292 


Three Hundred Tears of Chukchi Ethnic Identity 298 


North European Shamanism 305 


The Assumed Early Mediterranean Influence among the Kuanyama Ambo 
Bantu of South West Africa 309 


Irrigation, Settlement Pattern, and Social Organization 3 1 8 


The Christian Hymnology of the North American Indians 324* 


The Acculturative Process in Jamaican Revivalism 332 


Plough and Field Shape 342 


A Umatilla Prophet Cult : An Episode in Culture Change 346 


Cart-using Indians of the American Plains 351 

xii Men and Cultures 


The Study of the Early History of Agriculture in the Territory of the U.S.S.R. 

in 1945-1955 356 


The Automobile in Contemporary Navaho Culture 359 


History and Ethnohistory, and A Case in Point 364 



Les Origines Ethniques de la Population Marocaine Musulmane de Casablanca 3 7 1 


Intertribal Relations in the Pueblo Kachina Cult 377 


Un Complexe Culture I : La Course de Pirogues au Laos 384 


The Idoma Court-of-Lineages in Law and Political Structure 390 


The Fear in Tapir ape Culture 396 


Toruba Concepts of the Soul 40 1 

A New Ecological Typology of the California Indians 41 1 

Autobiography of a Guatemalan Indian 420 


Les Communautes d'Entr*aide des Bambara du Soudan Franpais 424 


A Comparison of Eastern Keresan and Tewa Kinship Systems 430 


Some Reflections on Chiga Ethics 437 


Sequence and Structure in Folktales 442 


Circumpolar Forest North America as a Modern Culture Area 447 

L. N. and L. KAPLAN 

Medicinal Plant and Food use as related to Health and Disease in Coastal 

Oaxaca 452 


Le Concept de Crime en Droit Djarai 459 


Aspects de la Royaute Bateke (Moyen-Congo) 463 


The Role of Music in Western Apache Culture 468 

Contents xiii 


Double Descent in an Ibo Village-Group 473 


La Notion de Mana dans la Culture Haitienne 482 


The Calf Sacrifice of the Todas of the Mgiris (South India) 485 


Polygamie et ses Particularity 490 


Production, Distribution and Power in a Primitive Society 495 


Tipi di Cultura nel Paraguay 501 


The Maintenance of Unity and Distinctiveness by a Philippine Peasant Village 506 


Contrasting Patterns of Carolinian Population Distribution in the Marianas 513 


The Birhor ( The Little Nomadic Tribe of India) : A Study in Ecology, 
Economy and Wandering 519 


The Inter-relations of Castes and Ethnic Groups in Nepal 526 



Human Types and Prehistoric Cultures at Ksdr 'Akil, Lebanon 535 


Culture Change in Europe at the Start of the Second Millennium B.C. : A 
Contribution to the Indo-European Problem 540 


Rocker-Stamped Pottery in the Old and New World 553 


North Mexico and the Correlation of Mesoamerican and Southwestern 
Cultural Sequences 566 


Paleo-Eskimo in Disko Bay, West Greenland 574 


The Plains Archaic Concept 580 


Prehistoric Culture Sequences in the Eastern Arctic as Elucidated by Stratified 
Sites at Igloolik 588 


Archaism and Revival on the South Coast of Peru 596 


The Preclassic Ceramic Sequence of Huapalcalco, of Tulancingo, Hgo 601 

xiv Men and Cultures 



The Mixteca-Puebla Concept in Mesoamerican Archeology: A Re-examina- 
tion 612 


El Patio mas Antiguo de Mesoamerica 618 


Cultural Unity and Diversification in Peruvian Archaeology 627 


The Gulf Coastal Plain in North American Prehistory 632 


The Paleo-Indian Culture Succession in the Central High Plains of Texas 

and New Mexico 639 


Western Siberian Archeology, An Interpretative Summary 648 



Physical and Psychological Factors in Culture Growth 665 

R. F. A. DEAN 

The Pattern of Development of African Children 671 


A Study of the Rotation of the Occipital Region in the Neandertal and 
Sapiens Skulls 678 


El Poblamiento Paleolitico de Espana 681 


Small Isolated Human Breeding Populations and Their Significance for the 
Process of Racial Differentiation 684 


La Paleodemographie, Base Nouvelle de V Analyse Anthropologique 692 


Significance of Recent Primatology for Physical Anthropology 698 


New Research in German Forensic Anthropology 703 


Partial Volumes and Surface Areas of the Human Body 709 


Changes in the Skull Features of the Japanese People from Ancient to Modern 
Times 717 


Primate Evolution and Human Behavior 725 

Les Proportions de la Tete Chez les Frangais 732 

Contents xv 


A Study of the Racial Morphology of the French Population 740 


The Evolutionary Taxonomy of the Hominidae in the Light of the Piltdown 
Investigation 741 



Applied Anthropology in the Belgian Territories in Africa (An Experience of 
Integration of the Tribal Institutions into the Pattern of the New Social 
Action in Central Africa) 755 


De Quelques Difficultes dues aux Differences de Cultures, Rencontrees dans les 
Missions d* Assistance Technique 764 


Applied Anthropology, Community Welfare, and Human Conservation 769 



The Southwest Project in Comparative Psycho linguistics : A Preliminary Report 777 


The Urbanization of the Guarani Language A Problem in Language and 
Culture 783 


The General Classification of Central and South American Languages 791 


The Origin of the Hausa Language 795 


Tonality in Efik Signal Communication and Folklore 803 

Author Index 809 






Les Origines Ethniques de la Population Marocaine Musulmane de Casablanca 

Further Studies on Allometric Children^ Growth 


Chez les Boschimans de V Angola 


Intertribal Relations in the Pueblo Kachina Cult 


Physical and Psychological Factors in Culture Growth 

Ethnohistoria de la Cultura Iberica 


Un Complexe Culturel: La Course de Pirogues au Laos 


Les Croyances des Masses Haitiennes 


The Idoma Court-of-Lineages in Law and Political Structure 

Lazarus Saturday Customs in Greece 


The Fear in Tapirape Culture 


Toruba Concepts of the Soul 


Current Trends in the Development of American Ethnology 

A New Ecological Typology of the California Indians 


Recent Chalcolithic Excavations in Israel 


Mogwe, The Religious Leader of the Mem 

A Proposal for the International Bibliography of Socio-Cultural Anthropology 


Myth and History in Anthropological Theory 

xviii Men and Cultures 

Autobiography of a Guatemalan Indian 


Investigating the Meaning of Body Motion 


Two Unique Textile Artifacts from Ancient Peru 


The Anthropometric Analysis of the Khasas of the Cis-Himalaya 


Problems in the Study of Murder in Africa 


The Modern Museum and the Community : An Introduction 


Recent Developments in the Study of the Prehistory of Western Asia 


Some Similarities Between Ards of the Balkans, Scandinavia, and Anterior Asia, and 
Their Methodological Significance 


Applied Anthropology in the Belgian Territories in Africa (An Experience of Integration 
of the Tribal Institutions into the Pattern of the New Social Action in Central Africa) 


A New Use for Songs 


La Langue des Pygmees Bambuti du Congo Beige 


Pseudoreality in a Mexican Village: The Generalized Virtue Myth 


The Lincecum Manuscript: A New Version of the Choctaw Migration Legend that 
Links the Muskhogeans with Mexico 


Les Pygmtes Mbaka du Cameroun 


Anthropology and the Smithsonian Institution 


Slash-and-Burn Agriculture : A Closer Look at its Implications for Settlement Patterns 


Scale of the Middle Eastern Farming Village 


The Southwest Project in Comparative Psycholinguistics : A Preliminary Report 


Northwest Coast Northeast Asiatic Similarities: A New Hypothesis 


On the Origin of the Andamanese Kitchen- Middens 

Papers Delivered to the Fifth International Congress xix 


Summary of "The Ancient Chinantla, Oaxaca, Mexico: Sources for its Precolonial 
and Colonial Historical Geography" 


Eastern Woodland Crafts for White Markets 


The Mesolithic Origin of Eskimo Culture 


The Biological Basis of Human Sociality 

Non-ceramic Sites of Northern Venezuela 


Some Aspects of the Significance of the Australopithecine Osteodontokeratic Culture 

R. F. A. DEAN 

The Pattern of Development of African Children 


Anthropologie Physique en U.R.S.S. 

Summary of Paleo- Anthropological Investigation in the U.S.S.R. 


Les Communautes d'Entr'aide des Bambara du Soudan Franfais 


De Quelques Difficult^ dues aux Differences de Cultures, Rencontrees dans les Missions 
d* Assistance Technique 


Some Problems of Objectivity in Ethnology 


Les Resultats des Missions Griaule au Soudan Franfais (1931-1956} 


Techniques of Preparing Manioc Flour as a Key to Culture History in Tropical 


A Comparison of Eastern Keresan and Tewa Kinship Systems 


The Use of Anthropological Techniques in Air Force Survival Problems 


Some Reflections on Chiga Ethics 


Social and Cultural Change in North American Lineage Systems 


On the Persistence of Culture Areas and Culture Boundaries 


The Moral Powers of the Kokturkish Qaghan 


The National Museum's Services to the People 

xx Men and Cultures 


Human Types and Prehistoric Cultures at Ksdr'Akil, Lebanon 


Some Problems of the Origin of Creek Pottery 


The Economy of the Shell Mound Builders (South Brazilian Coast) 


The Peralta Culture: A Pre-pottery Lithic Complex from Sonora, Mexico 


The Hiawatha Wampum Belt of the Iroquois League for Peace: A Symbol for the 
International Congress of Anthropology 


Anthropological Research on Czechoslovak Adult People 


The Baluchis and Brahuis of Makron and Kelat, West Pakistan 


Recent Trends in British Social Anthropology 

Symbolic and Secular Variations in Ritual in a Situation of Social Change 


Sequence and Structure in Folktales 


Recent Ethnographic Studies of Dutch New Guinea 


Some Past History of Ballads Migrant in New England 


Individual Variation in Culture 


Applied Anthropology: Problems, Perils and Possibilities 


Eskimos and Norsemen (A Mediaeval Study) 


Culture Stability and Change Among the Seminoles of Florida 


Conflict and Congruence in Anthropological Theory 


// Museo Antropo-Etnogrqfico di Torino 


A Study of the Rotation of the Occipital Region in the Neanderal and Sapiens Skulls 


Contributions d I* Etude du Creole Hditien 


Maturation of the Hand 

El Poblamiento Paleolitico de Espana 

Papers Delivered to the Fifth International Congress xxi 

Race and Evolution 


The Urbanization of the Guarani Language A Problem in Language and Culture 


Les Populations Louchas en Assam 


A Case Study in Directed Culture Change : San Carlos Indian Cattle Industry 


Le Siriono de la Bolivie Orientate : Une Langue Monosyllabe 


Culture Change in Europe at the Start of the Second Millennium B.C. : A Contribution 
to the Indo-European Problem 


Trends in European Prehistory 


Languages and Patterns of Thought 


The Evolution of Status Systems in Polynesia 

Culture and Human Behavior 


Interpersonal Attitudes Expressed in Sebei Stories 


The General Classification of Central and South American Languages 


Rocker-stamped Pottery in the Old and New World 


Partnership and Mutual Aid in the Caucasus 


The State is Our Community 


Turtle Fishing with the Aid of the Sucker-Fish : Convergence or Diffusion ? 


Layerings of Morphemic Fusion in Proto-Mazatec 

Moshup Abang 


Les Tendances Modernes de VEvolution des Societes Melanesiennes (Nouvelles- 
Hebrides et Nouvelle-Caledonie] 


The Acculturation of Eastern Cherokee Community Organization 


Anthropology and Art 

xxii Men and Cultures 


A Re-evaluation of the Cultural Position of the Nootka 


%um Problem der Konstanz, in der Ethnologie 


A Microcultural Analysis of Time 


Backwash of the Frontier: The Impact of the American Indian on American Culture 


Levels and Processes of Economic Adjustment : The Resettlement of the Mossi at the 
Niger Irrigation Project 


Archaeological Field Photography 


Erect Phallic Stones and Images in the Fertility Cults of South India, Southeast Asia, 
and Polynesia 


A Case Study in Misapplied Anthropology : The Minnesota Chippewa 


Anthropology at a Glance 


UAttelage du Cheval et les Charrues (Fourcat et Sokha] 


Recent Developments in Ethnological Theory in Europe 

Theoretical Considerations Concerning the Problem of Pre-Columbian Contacts Between 

the Old World and the New 


Some Further Comments on Cultural Relativism 


Remarks on Implements and Methods ofPre-plow Agriculture 


English Plough Design in the Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Centuries with 
Particular Reference to Regional Variations 


Araucanian Child Life 


Socio-cultural Aspects of Valued Leadership in a North Indian Village 


Ethnology and High Civilization, Exemplified by Ancient Egypt 


Circumpolar Forest North America as a Modern Culture Area 

Training and Research Methods in Ethnomusicology 


Recent Developments and Trends in Ethnological Studies in China 

Papers Delivered to the Fifth International Congress xxiii 


The Relationship of Tsimshian and Chinookan 


" Time" and "Place" as Variables in Acculturation Research 


Motif Analysis of the Literature of Eighth Century Japan 


Thoughts on Methodology for Comprehension of an Oral Literature 


Universal Serological Reaction in Pima and Havasupi Indians 


Comparative Study of Japanese and Korean Geographical Names 


Medicinal Plant and Food Use as Related to Health and Disease in Coastal Oaxaca 


Megaliths of the Mro Chittagong Hill Tracts, East Pakistan 


Recreative Behavior and Culture Change 


North Mexico and the Correlation of Mesoamerican and Southwestern Cultural Sequences 

Chronometric Use of Patination 

UEthnologie et le Folklore, Doivent-ils Eire Unifies? 


Problems of Pre-Tiahuanaco Culture History in the Lake Titicaca Region 


The Use of Typology in Anthropological Theory 


Ethnomusicology Its Problems and Methods 


Ethnologie (Culture History) und Universalgeschichte 


Relations between Plough, Shovel, and Furrow-stick 

LAszL6 K. KovAics 

The Hungarian Plough and the Problems of Plough Culture 


The Theory of Corporate Bodies 


Rivalry and Superiority : Two Dominant Features of the Sumerian Culture Pattern 


Archaeological Typology in Theory and Practice 


Some Socio-cultural Factors in Child Psychiatry 

xxiv Men and Cultures 


The American Philosophical Society and Anthropology 


Ecology, Economy y and Locality, Utilizing Data from both California and the Valley 
of Mexico 

Jazz Choreology 


Le Concept de Crime en Droit Djarai 


Changing Village Organization among the Muruts of British North Borneo 


Methodological Problems of Free Doll Play as an Ethnographic Field Technique 


Comparison of Cultural Dynamics Selected from New and Old World Cultures : 
Puebloan and Tyrolean 


Paleo-Eskimo in Disko Bay, West Greenland 


Small Isolated Human Breeding Populations and Their Significance for the Process 
of Racial Differentiation 


From Phoneme to Morph: Person- Aspect Inflections ofCu&o Quechua 


Aspects de la Royaute Bateke (Moyen-Congo} 


Ethno-sociologie Urbaine: Methode de Recherche 


The Dual Role of the Bat in Mesoamerican Belief 


Plow Complex, Culture Change and Cultural Stability 


Population Trends among the Eskimo 


Three Hundred Tears of Chukchi Ethnic Identity 


North European Shamanism 


The Sea Going Raft: Its Origin in Ancient China and Distribution in the Pacific and 
in the New World 


Approximacidn Experimental a la Antropologid 


The Assumed Early Mediterranean Influence among the Kuanyama Ambo Bantu of 
Southwest Africa 

Papers Delivered to the Fifth International Congress xxv 


The Componential Structure of the Iroquois-type Kinship System 


The Museum, Television, and the Community 


A Legal Application of American Ethnology 


Physical Growth and Development of Children in Relation to Diet Habits 


Ethno zoology of Three Indian Tribes: A Study of the Aboriginal Natural History 

Caste and Culture 


A Stone Industry of Patjitanian Tradition from Central Japan 


Les " Bandas de Musica" Populaires de la Region de Valencia (Espagne) 


General Anthropology and the Terminology of the Social Sciences : A Profession 


Some Petroglyphs and Pictographs of Durango and Coahuila, Mexico 


The Effect of Firing Condition on the Color of Pottery Bodies and Paint 

The Plains Archaic Concept 


The Role of Music in Western Apache Culture 

Further Notes on Avoidance between Siblings of the Same Sex 


The Modern Museum in the Community 


Cultural Persistence and the Iowa Amish 


A New Framework for Studies of Folklore and Survivals 


Prehistoric Culture Sequences in the Eastern Arctic as Elucidated by Stratified Sites at 


Archaism and Revival on the South Coast of Peru 


Music of the Ekonda Bobongo (Lac Tumba, West Central Belgian Congo) 


A System for Describing and Analysing the Regulation of Coordinated Activity 

xxvi Men and Cultures 

The New Museology: A Call to Order 


Ethnical Assimilation and Ethnogenesis 


The Preclassic Ceramic Sequence of Huapalcalco, of Tulancingo, Hgo 


Typology in the Area of Social Organization 


The Use of Typology in Multilinear Evolution of Culture 


Bird-serpent Motif in the Art of the Mound Builders 

J. NEMESKRI and G. AcsAoi 

La Paleodemographie, Base Nouvelle de V Analyse Anthropologique 

Cheremis Music 


On the Origin of the Mongoloid Subspecies of Man 


The Mixteca-Puebla Concept in Mesoamerican Archeology : A Re- examination 


The Position of the Physician in Society 


The Origin of the Hausa Language 


Irrigation, Settlement Pattern, and Social Organization 


Serology as a Technique in Physical Anthropology : Technical Problems as Revealed by 
Repeated Determination in Twins 


Double Descent in an Ibo Village-group 


Elementos Matrilineales en la Organizacidn Familar Fang (Guinea Espanola y 


La Notion de Mans dans la Culture Haitienne 


Plough and Plough Team in Wales 


The Calf Sacrifice of the Todas of the Nilgiris (South India) 


An African Anarchic Secret Society in Action 


The Numeral Nine and the Nine Days' Journey of the Dead in the Religion of the 
West Indian Peasant 

Papers Delivered to the Fifth International Congress xxvii 

Jos6 PONS 

Advantages of the Dermatoglyphics for Raciological Purposes 


Clan Relations in the System of Social Relations of the Present-day African Village 
Current Trends in Ethnography in the U.S.S.R. 


Estandardizacao nos Metodos de Pesquisa da Antropologia Fisica 

Louis H. POWELL 

The Lake Agassiz Problem as seen from Minnesota 


Gauze and Gauze-like Weaves of the Americas (An Archaeological and Ethnological 


Polygamie et ses Particularity's 


The Mamanua of Northeastern Mindanao, Philippines 


The New Museum in Europe and the New World 


El Patio mas Antiguo de Mesoamerica 


The Christian Hymnology of the North American Indians 


Leadership and Interactional Process in the Afro-Brazilian Cult Groups 


Association between Hand Prints and the Ability to Discriminate between Weights 


U Element Blanc et les Pygmees en Amerique 


Contribution d I' Etude des Interdits en Haiti 


The Role of Values in the Study of Cultural Dynamics 


Essai Critique sur les Enquetes de Migrations en Afrique Noire 


Recent Developments in American Archaeology 


Cultural Unity and Diversification in Peruvian Archaeology 


Costituzidne Fisica ed Acclimatazidne Nelle Ande 


Production, Distribution and Power in a Primitive Society 


A Typological Observation on the Japanese Family 

xxviii Men and Cultures 


Some Interracial Differences Located in the Internal Organs 


The Duration of the Main Periods of Life in Man and Other Primates 
Significance of Recent Primatology for Physical Anthropology 


New Research in German Forensic Anthropology 


Tipi di Cultura nel Paraguay 


The Gulf Coastal Plain in North American Prehistory 


Descriptive Sound-writing in Ethnomusicology 


The Failure of Consideration (Abstract of Notes on the Scientific Film) 


The Paleo-Indian Culture Succession in the Central High Plains of Texas and New 


The Primitive Tribes of Gujarat ( West Indies) 


The Role of the Anthropologist in a Medical Organization 


Western Siberian Archeology, An Interpretative Summary 


The Maintenance of Unity and Distinctiveness by a Philippine Peasant Village 


Tonality in Efik Signal Communication and Folklore 


The Tule Springs Locality: A Late Pleistocene Paleolithic Campsite in America 


The Acculturative Process in Jamaican Revivalism 


The Boskop "Race" Problem 


Partial Volumes and Surface Areas of the Human Body 


Contrasting Patterns of Carolinian Population Distribution in the Marianas 


Recent Developments in the Field of Genetics 

Plough and Field Shape 


A Umatilla Prophet Cult : An Episode in Culture Change 

Papers Delivered to the Fifth International Congress xxix 


Cart-using Indians of the American Plains 


L'Age de la Mere Comme Facteur Influent la Vitesse du Developpement Ontogenttique 


Linguistic Data for Solving the Hamitic Problem in Africa 


Aesthetics in "Primitive" Societies 


Physical Anthropology of Woodcutter Populations 


Changes in the Skull Features of the Japanese People from Ancient to Modern Times 


The Community as a Cash Customer for Museum Services 


Practices of the "Secret Christians" in Twentieth Century Japan 


Primate Evolution and Human Behavior 




Some Problems of Community Museums 


Applied Anthropology, Community Welfare, and Human Conservation 


The Sacred Inheritance of the Baoule 


The Study of the Early History of Agriculture in the Territory of the U.S.S.R. in 

Slavery in Antiquity 


The University Museum and the Community 


Withdrawal, An Early Means of Dealing with the Supernatural 


Analysis Discriminante de Dos Muestras de Indigenas de Venezuela: Caribes y 


Life gone Rule of Man in Race, Culture and History 


Megalithic Rites in Manggarai, West Flores, Indonesia 


La Reconstruction des Cycles Culturels en Afrique Noire en 1955-1956: Etapes et 

xxx Men and Cultures 


Comparative Studies on the Skull of Pan paniscus 


Les Proportions de la Tete Chez les Frangais 


Is It Possible to Determine the Racial Type of Everyone? 

Canon des Proportions Corporelles Lineaires et Volumetriques du Frarqais Moyen 


Contribution a I Etude de V Anthropologie Raciale de la Population Presente de la 
France: Determination de la Morphologie Raciale de 300 Jeunes Frangais de 7 a 
17 ans inclus et de 984 Adultes de 18 et 52 ans 


The Social Role of the Anthropological Advisor 


The Birhor (The Little Nomadic Tribe of India) : A Study in Ecology, Economy and 


Causal and Non-causal Interpretations of Linguistic Similarities Subsystem Typology 

in Linguistics 

Subsystem Typology in Linguistics 


Affix "Synonyms" and "Homonyms" in Proto-siouan 


The Automobile in Contemporary Navaho Culture 


The Inter-relations of Castes and Ethnic Groups in Nepal 


Theory of Possible Human Values 


A Study of Norms in the Tribal Music of Uganda 


Political Organization and Land Tenure among the Northeastern Indians, 1600-1830 


Spacial Orientation and the System of Social Solidarity between Man and Nature 


Totemic and Ecological Factors in the Role of Aboriginal Women of Arnhem Land 


Climatic Adaptation and Body Form 

The Evolutionary Taxonomy of the Hominidae in the Light of the Piltdown Investi- 


The Ethnic Dimension of Human History: Pattern or Patterns of Culture? 


Did the Toruba Come from Egypt? 

Papers Delivered to the Fifth International Congress xxxi 


History and Ethnohistory, and A Case in Point 


A Comprehensive View of Prehistory through a Theory of Cultural Evolution based on 
Physiological Clues 


The American Museum of Atomic Energy Its Nationwide Program 


Agricultural Unity in the Mediterranean 


Intelligibility, Communication and Inter-ethnic Attitudes 


Archaeological Investigations in Alberta, Canada 


Prehistoric Rock Carvings and Cave Paintings in Northwestern Australia 


The Hamitic Problem in Eastern and Southern Africa 


Principes de Medecine Bambara 






William JV. Fenton 

It has been the custom at international congresses in the science of man for the 
organizing committee to adopt some symbol or example of aboriginal fine art 
as the emblem of the Congress during that session. With the privilege of choosing 
the device goes the responsibility, some time during the program, of explaining 
to the Congress the meaning of the emblem, which appears on the cover of the 
programme and on the envelopes which were distributed at registration. Your 
Organizing Committee had no difficulty in agreeing that the most appropriate 
object for the emblem was the one suggested out of the aboriginal political 
symbolism of the League of the Iroquois: the Hiawatha Wampum Belt, a 
mnemonic device for remembering the founding of the original League for 
Peace in the Stone Age of North America. The object itself is among the most 
important and valuable specimens in the New York State Museum at Albany. 
The New York State Museum regrets greatly that because of its fragile con- 
dition it could not be moved to Philadelphia. The purpose then of this illus- 
trated lecture is to explain a plan of union which the old men of Onondaga, 
New York, once proposed in vain as a model to the governors of the New York, 
Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia colonies but which had a profound effect 
afterward upon Franklin and the founders of this republic. This symbol was 
particularly appropriate to this occasion because descendants of the founders of 
the Iroquois League, who still perpetuate its council and ritual on the Six 
Nations Reserve in Canada, attended this Congress. I feel thrice blessed then 
and am happy indeed to discharge the role of Honorary Keeper of the Wam- 
pum, an office which the Onondaga Nation, who were the original keepers of 
the wampums of the Confederacy, conferred upon a former Director of the New 
York State Museum in 1898. 

I shall begin by describing the specimen itself, next I shall raise some ques- 
tions about its age, third, illustrate its function in "forest diplomacy," then shall 
I "read the wampum," and, finally, reinterpret its symbolism for this Congress. 

The Hiawatha Belt (N.Y.S.M. Cat. No. 37,309), is by no means the longest 
wampum belt in existence, now measuring but 21^ inches, having lost an inch 
and one-half since it was first described in 1878 (Beauchamp, 1901, p. 411); 
and it is 38 rows wide (10^ inches) or "deep," as the Indian Records note their 
width. In the latter dimension it is exceeded by only two others of 45 and 50 
rows, which are also considerably longer, as is a fourth which may be the longest 
belt in existence (6 feet, 3 inches). The Hiawatha Belt ranks fourth in area. 
It consists of 6,916 shell beads in the form of a mat, the warps of which are 

Men and Cultures 

Fig. 1. The Hiawatha Belt 

buckskin thongs, the outer ones braided, and the beads are strung as wefts on 
hemp thread. In the solid purple field is worked a design of white shell beads, 
illustrating a tree or heart, flanked by two sets of hollow squares which are 
connected to each other by a double row of white beads which extends to the 
extremities, and by a single row to the central figure. The design is self-con- 
tained and I do not think that the belt has lost many courses of beads at the 
ends because the fringe shows but few additional courses of wefts which end 
well within the fringe itself. 

Old as the design may be, the beads appear to have been made with modern 
tools, as Beauchamp noted (1901, p. 411), from the shell of the Quahaug or 
hard clam (Venus mercenaria) which once abounded along the Atlantic Coast 
from Cape Cod south and was the principal source of purple wampum, al- 
though a variety of shells furnished the white. It seems probable that the Dutch 
settlers at Manhattan seized on a trait to which a trade value had already 
attached because a number of varieties of shell beads appear in graves going 
back to quite early prehistoric times, and one of these developed into the 
wampum of colonial times which first appears archeologically during the 
seventeenth century. For the history of the wampum industry is well established 
to have begun about 1630 on eastern Long Island when coastal Algonquian 
Indians commenced to use steel drills for perforating the cylindrical beads from 
opposite ends, resulting in a broken channel, and wampum factories persisted 
to the middle of the last century in New Jersey. Historical accounts abound 
telling us how the fur trade created a demand for the use of wampum as money 
by the coastal Indians, the Dutch and English colonists, and by the inland 
Iroquois of New York, who developed elaborate systems of strings and belts as 
mnemonic devices for treaty making, messages, mourning, and for religious 
purposes. Purple wampum carried twice the valuation of white wampum out of 
original scarcity, but as production increased and quality improved during the 
mid-seventeenth century Gresham's law set in to devalue it. The supply of 
wampum declined as it was driven off the market at the end of the century and 
then increased enormously at the mid-eighteenth century when the treaty- 
making activities of the English colonies with the Iroquois tribes consumed 
thousands of beads in making a single belt of which twelve to twenty might be 

The Hiawatha Wampum Belt 5 

passed at a single negotiation. Thus the Iroquois acquired all of their wampum 
through intermediaries from coastal sources. 

Beauchamp in 1901 first questioned the age of some of the Iroquois wampum 
belts in the New York collection and they have twice been described since by 
Clarke (1929, 1931) ; but until quite recently the belts had not been x-rayed to 
determine the relative age of the beads from which they were woven by the 
marked improvement in drilling technique during the later period of the wam- 
pum industry when the beads were perforated in a single direction, leaving a 
straight channel. Aside from this general criterion established by Orchard in 
1929 for early and late wampum, statistical sorts of wampum from dated 
graves have not been plotted against samples of similar sorts taken from belts 
of known and unknown age. As a beginning, x-ray photographs were made 
through the courtesy of the New York State Department of Health of the 
Hiawatha belt and of two larger mat belts in our collection, which are likewise 
undated. These pictures have proved so interesting to scholars and laymen alike 
that for comparison we have since had x-rayed the Washington Covenant 
Belt, which has a known date of 1775, and is the longest of the Iroquois belts 
(6 feet 3^ inches) and contains 10,000 beads. 

Of the three belts so far x-rayed Hiawatha, the Evergrowing Tree, and the 
Thadodaho or Chain Belt all of which are referred traditionally to the 
founding of the Iroquois League the latter two appear to have been made of 
uniformly matched but irregularly drilled beads of an early historic period, 
while the Hiawatha Belt appears to contain wampum of several sorts; it is 
irregular in size and the length of the beads varies, and the drilling shows two 
extremes of technical skill, some having been drilled in two directions and 
others near the margins of the belt clear through. Two of the belts are the work 
of a single maker who had access to a source of uniform wampum in large 
quantity. The Hiawatha Belt was redone at some time using beads from two 
different sources, a fact which suggests that the Indian council unstrung two 
older belts of differing age and handed the beads to the maker of the present 
belt, at some later time. The Hiawatha Belt contains one bead that is opaque 
in the x-ray. Although the symbols they carry may be much older, I think the 
three belts can be dated from the mid-eighteenth century when purple wampum 
was abundant, when between 1755 and 1774 forest diplomacy was a great 
drama played between the Six Nations and Her Majesty's Indian Super- 
intendent, Sir William Johnson, the Penns and the other colonial governors, 
when Iroquois belts are known to be "mostly black Wampum " . . . and . . . 
"they describe Castles [their towns] sometimes upon them as square figures of 
White Wampum" (Johnson to Lee, 1771, in O'Callaghan, 1851, 4:437). 


The literature of the council fire which records the transactions of forest 
diplomacy from the mid-seventeenth century and throughout the eighteenth 
century redounds in metaphors the path, the clearing by the forest, the dark- 
ness of grief, death and war, the fire and the light of the sun, the tree of peace 
with its roots extending in the cardinal directions to all nations, the column of 
smoke rising to heaven summoning men everywhere to join in the great peace, 
the chain of friendship binding men and nations in the great law of mutualities, 
and the three words of pity to wipe away the tears, to open one's ears, and to 
clear one's throat to speak which were used to condole the mourning kinsmen 

6 Men and Cultures 

of other nations and to restore life and society. All of these figures were employed 
by Indian orators and were learned by White officials alike, who propped up 
their memories at first with painted sticks and afterward with belts of wampum 
which became broader and longer and more elaborate in design as the supply 
of available wampum increased and the ceremony of treaty-making elaborated. 
There is no need now to document my words with specific instances and so I 
shall refrain from quoting the Indian Records, particularly since I do not find 
an exact description of the belt in question although there are comparable 
examples in plenty to fix its membership in the genre of mid-eighteenth century 
treaty belts. The Iroquois themselves have been more careful custodians of this 


The Constitution of the Five Nations, as it was written down by Seth New- 
house, a Mohawk on the Six Nations Reserve in Canada about 1880, and after- 
ward published by the late Dr. Arthur C. Parker, himself a Seneca, an ethnolo- 
gist and a museologist, refers under Section 60 of the Great Binding Law to the 
reading of the Hiawatha Belt (Parker, 1916, p. 47) : 

"The first of the squares on the left represents the Mohawk nation and its 
territory; the second square on the left and the one near the heart, represents 
the Oneida nation and its territory; the white heart in the middle represents 
the Onondaga nation and its territory; and it also means that the heart of the 
Five Nations is single in its loyalty to the Great Peace, that the Great Peace 
is lodged in the heart (meaning the Onondaga Confederate Lords) , and that 
the Council Fire is to burn there for the Five Nations, and further, it means 
that the authority is given to advance the cause of peace whereby hostile 
nations out of the Confederacy shall cease warfare ; the white square to the 
right of the heart represents the Cayuga nation and its territory and the 
fourth and last square represents the Seneca nation and its territory. 

" White shall here symbolize that no evil or jealous thoughts shall creep into 
the minds of the Lords while in council under the Great Peace. White the 
emblem of peace, love, charity and equity surrounds and guards the Five 
Nations." (Parker, 1916, p. 47-48.) 

"In reversing the belt, the figure of the 'heart 5 in the center assumes the 
appearance of a tree and at the same time brings the geographical position 
of the Five Nations in the correct order on the belt. A figure of a tree might 
well represent the Onondaga nation as the Onondagas were designated to 
keep the Council Fire and it was under the Great Tree of Light that the 
nations met in council." (Clarke, 1931, p. 88-89.) 

The Belt can be read in either direction. In sum, it tells us how the Mohawks, 
the Oneidas, the Onondagas, the Cayugas, and the Senecas were leagued in a 
confederacy for mutual protection and to advance the great peace. 

Surely it means more than this to some of our Iroquois friends who are with 
us who with the addition of the Tuscaroras became the Six Nations whose 
record of loyalty to the British and American interests on this continent is 
truly remarkable. And their contributions to our science since Lewis H. 
Morgan and Horatio Hale worked among them a century ago have been in 
training many of us in our craft. I hope that Chief Alex General who indeed 
bears the distinguished Cayuga title DESKAHEH and was the steadfast colleague 

The Hiawatha Wampum Belt 7 

and friend of the late beloved Professor Frank G. Speck of this University will 
tell the Congress something about the glory that is the League of the Iroquois 
when I have spoken. 

But let me close my remarks to this Congress which is about to form a union 
by saying they need not look beyond the Hiawatha Belt for a symbol to express 
the kind of international amity and good will that has marked these meetings. 
Just as Canasatego, the speaker for the Onondaga Council, reminded the 
governors of the neighboring colonies but a few miles west of here at Lancaster 
in 1744, how the Five Nations had united as one to face the world and that 
where they were formerly weak now they were collectively strong, how he 
cautioned them . . . "whatever befalls you, never fall out with one another." 
So I say that we take this symbol and grasp it firmly to our bosoms and impute 
the continents of the world Europe, Asia, Africa, the New World to each 
of the four squares that flank the tree of peace which stands for the central 
bureau of our union, or the heart of this Congress, where I presume the smoke 
of our council fire will next rise at Paris at the Place Trocadero and touch the 
sky for all the world to see. 

New Tork State Mmeum, 
Albany, New Tork. 


Beauchamp, William M. 

1901. Wampum and Shell Articles Used by the New York Indians. N.Y. State 

Museum Bull. 41:319-480. 
Clarke, Noah T. 

1929. The Thacher Wampum Belts. N.Y. State Museum Dir. Rep't. 1926, pp. 53-58. 
1931. The Wampum Belt Collection of the New York State Museum. N.Y. State 

Museum Bull. 288, pp. 85-121. 
Marshe, Witham 

1800. Journal of the Treaty Held with the Six Nations by the Commissioners of 
Maryland, and Other Provinces, at Lancaster, in Pennsylvania, June 1744. 
Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll. (1), 7 : 171-201. Boston. 
O'Callaghan, E. B. (Ed.) 

1851. Sir William Johnson to Arthur Lee, Esq. "On the Customs, Manners and 
Language of the Indians." Johnson Hall, February 28, 1771. Documentary 
History of the State of New York, 4 : 430-438. Albany. 
Orchard, William C. 

1929. Beads and Beadwork of the American Indians: A Study Based on Specimens 
in the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, New York*. 
MAI-HF, Contrib. 11. New York. 
Parker, Arthur C. 

1916. The Constitution of the Five Nations. N.Y. State Museum Bull. 184: 1-158. 






Ralph L. Beds 

A survey of recent trends in American ethnology must be dominated by a sense 
not only of change but of the immanence of further change. 1 Excellent recent 
papers by Kroeber, Eggan and others give excellent summaries of longer-range 
trends and encourage me to emphasize the recent period and to venture some 
look at the possible future. 2 

A striking feature of the broad field of American anthropology is its rapid 
growth and professionalization. Most marked in the United States, this trend 
is apparent in Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Brazil, once was true of 
Argentina, and is beginning in Venezuela and other countries. Unless other- 
wise indicated, however, my remarks will apply only to the United States. 

Increase in the number of anthropologists in the United States has been 
accompanied by expanding employment opportunities and the opening of 
many new fields of investigation. In the academic field, not only has the number 
of institutions granting the Ph.D. degree grown in half a century from four to 
twenty-two, but the majority of colleges and universities today offer some 
instruction in the subject. Increasingly anthropology, and especially ethnology, 
is regarded as a valuable part of education not only for all fields involving 
human relations and human behavior but for a revitalized humanistic educa- 
tion. In several states ethnological data and concepts play an increasing role in 
elementary and secondary- school curricula. 

One measure of growth and professionalization is the number of Ph.D. 
degrees in anthropology granted by United States universities. The first such 
degree was awarded in 1894. By 1924, forty-four dissertations had been 
accepted, rising by 1944 to 294 and jumping by 1954 to 591 (Table I). Thus the 



1894-1944 1945-1954 Totals 

All fields of anthropology 294 297 591 

Ethnology and related subjects 184 211 395 

Per cent ethnology is of total 62.2 72.0 66.8 

Compiled from Yearbook of Anthropology, 1955. 

number of doctoral dissertations accepted since 1944 exceeded the number in 
the previous fifty years. Moreover, the number of doctorates granted since 1944 
equals about three-fifths of the number of regular Fellows of the American 
Anthropological Association in 1955. Before 1945, about 62 per cent of all 
anthropology dissertations were in ethnology; since 1944, about 72 per cent. 
Numerically, then, ethnology in the United States is dominated by young 

12 Men and Cultures 

people who have secured their doctorates since 1944. It seems certain that these 
younger people will give important new directions to ethnology in the near 

In an effort to predict these future trends as well as to gain some idea of 
current interests, I have made an analysis of the titles of doctoral dissertations 
accepted by United States universities in the two decades of 1925 to 1934 and 
1945 to 1954. I shall use the results of this analysis as the major framework of 
my discussion of recent and future trends, supplementing it by personal judg- 
ments. I have adopted this course because any attempt to cover recent publica- 
tions or the work of particular men and groups in twenty minutes would leave 
so many and possibly invidious omissions. 

The two decades chosen are a generation apart. The decade 1925-1934 also 
was the first with a substantial number of doctoral dissertations, 75, of which 
43 were in ethnology. Unquestionably the subjects of Ph.D. dissertations to 
some extent represent the interests of the professors in charge rather than those 
of the students. Yet thirty-four of the writers of ethnological dissertations in the 
early decade continued professionally active and are known to me. Of these I 
estimate that the later work of twenty-four partially reflects interests identifiable 
in the titles of their dissertations. If this holds true of the later period, then we 
may expect that the post-doctoral research of about 70 per cent of those who 
continue professionally active will bear some relation to their dissertations. 
At the same time, my analysis shows that the dissertations do not reflect some 
recent trends that I consider important. 

Dissertations in the later period show a wider range of geographic interests 
than in the earlier. The number dealing with peoples or problems within 
Anglo-America declined from about 58 per cent to 45 per cent (Table II). 



1925-1934 1945-1954 

No. % No. % 

Anglo-America 25 58.1 95 45.0 

Latin America 3 6.9 43 20.3 

Europe 2 4.6 4 1.8 

Africa 3 6.9 19 9.0 

Asia (including Japan and Philippine Islands) 2 4.6 24 11.3 

Oceania (including Australia) 4 9.3 12 5.6 

Non-areal, pan-areal or no indication 4 9.3 14 6.6 

43 99.7 211 99.6 

Note: Inspection suggests that later dissertations more frequently are based upon or 
related to field work. 

Source : Yearbook of Anthropology, 1955. 

Dissertations focused on Latin America rose from about 7 to 20 per cent of the 
total, on Africa from 7 to 9 per cent, and for Asia from 4} to 1 1 per cent, 
although percentages dealing with Europe and Oceania declined. Significantly 
the proportion of dissertations based upon or related to field work increased 
substantially. If more field and travel funds become available, I predict a 
further increase in research outside North America. 

Current Trends in the Development of American Ethnology 13 

Classification of subject matter, problems and methods based solely upon 
titles, permits the use of only broad categories and rather subjective criteria 
of classification (Table III). The categories I have employed overlap somewhat 
and any given dissertation may fall in more than one category. 



1915-1934 1945-1954 

No. % No. % 

I. Historical, descriptive, distributional 

A. Case studies 12 26.7 17 7.9 

B. Trait distributions, area studies, diffu- 
sion 10 22.2 21 9.8 

C. Ethno-historical 16 7.5 
II. Social structure, social interaction, essentially 


A. Case studies 8 17.8 5 26.2 

B. Comparative 10 22.2 16 7.5 

III. Social and cultural change 

A. Problem interest 3 6.7 49 22.9 

B. Applied interest 00 7 3.3 

IV. Individual and culture 

A. Role of individual, socialization, specific 

psychological processes 2 4.5 10 4.7 

B. Culture and personality 00 9 4.2 
V. Ethos, themes or values 13 6.1 

Total classifiable dissertations 45 214 

Note: Many dissertations are classifiable in more than one category; hence neither 
numbers or percents may be added. See text for further description of categories. 

Source: Yearbook of Anthropology, 1955. 

One major distinction is between dissertations concerned primarily with 
historical problems and those with a non-historical focus. Virtually all of the 
latter may roughly be classified as structural and /or functional in their approach. 
The objectives of the latter may emphasize dynamic or processual factors or be 
primarily analytical and generalizing in purpose, although these character- 
istics are not mutually exclusive. 

More than half of the 43 ethnological dissertations submitted between 1925 
and 1934 which could be classified with confidence were primarily historical 
in orientation. This was true of only a quarter of the dissertations submitted in 
the 1945-1954 period. Moreover, significant differences in the kinds of historical 
interest appear when the two periods are compared. In the early period over 
27 per cent of the dissertations centered about the ethnology of a single tribe, 
usually tracing its historical development or its relationships with other groups 
in the same culture area. In the later period less than 10 per cent were in this 
category. The percentage of dissertations concerned with trait distributions, 
characterizations of culture areas, or problems of diffusion and historical 
reconstruction dropped from 23 per cent to 10 per cent. Finally, in the later 

14 Men and Cultures 

period 16 or nearly 8 per cent of dissertations were ethno-historical, a classifi- 
cation by my criteria completely lacking in the earlier period. These studies are 
documented analyses either of the history of a single tribe or, more frequently 
of problems of culture change or of structural-functional analysis. Hence most 
ethno-historical dissertations reappear in other classifications. 

Dissertations with non-historical orientations may be classified in several 
ways. One group I have characterized as being concerned with social structure 
or function, including studies of specific formal institutions, analyses of tribes 
or communities, and such aspects of social interaction as role, status and 
stratification. In this group, case studies analyzing a single tribe or community 
rose from 18 to 27 per cent but comparative studies dropped from 23 per cent 
to less than 8 per cent. 

If diffusion problems be excluded, less than 8 per cent of the earlier disser- 
tations show interest in social or cultural change. In contrast, in the later period 
more than one quarter of the total are concerned with the dynamics or pro- 
cesses of change, acculturation situations and the like. Of these, a small number 
are focused on applied problems, a category lacking in the earlier period. 

Excluding culture and personality topics, in both periods slightly less than 
5 per cent of the dissertations are concerned with the role of the individual in 
culture, with socialization, or with specific psychological processes such as the 
channeling of aggression in a given society. Culture and personality topics, 
lacking in the earlier period, constitute less than 5 per cent in the later decade. 

Concern with such things as themes, ethos, or values is not evident in the 
earlier period but appears in over 6 per cent of the dissertations in the later 

In the later period the data for some 12 per cent of the dissertations are 
drawn from studies of peasant or rural communities within a larger society, 
while data for another 12 per cent are derived from the study of an ethnic 
minority. This was not true of any dissertation in the earlier period. 

Comparing the analysis of the dissertations in the recent period with my own 
evaluation of recent trends, I find important omissions or differences in emphasis. 
In both periods covered there is no dissertation dealing with cultural evolution. 
In view of the number of recent publications and symposia discussing neo- 
evolutionary or multi-evolutionary problems, one must assume that these are 
too difficult for dissertation topics. Certainly a revival of interest in cultural 
evolution is a small but significant recent trend in United States ethnology. 

The number of dissertations in ethno-history is consonant with the recent 
emergence of this field and the founding of a specialized journal last year. One 
stimulus to this field has been the recent participation of many anthropologists 
in Indian Lands Claims legal cases as consultants. This has led to new 
awareness of the wealth of unexploited documentary data about the American 

Certainly the previous discussion does not do justice to the amount and 
nature of historical interest still current among United States ethnologists. 
Contrasting the situation today with that in the late twenties and early thirties, 
one might say that in the United States the historical lamb today lives peaceably 
with the functionalist tiger. As Eggan argues in the article already cited, there 
is no necessary incompatibility. Historical studies which emphasize the unique- 
ness of events and combinations of events there are and will continue to be. 
But many historical studies today focus not upon events but upon the identifi- 
cation of underlying processes which may be adequately analyzed and may 

Current Trends in the Development of American Ethnology 15 

prove to be repetitive. At the same time many followers of the "scientific" 
approach today consider it necessary to use historical materials to identify 
unique or unpredictable variables which must be accounted for or allowed for 
in the development of research models and designs, and which often must form 
one type of qualification in the formulation of generalizations. As a result 
there is a great deal more historical work being done than is measured by the 
avowedly historical studies. 

The recent dissertations certainly are not representative of the large amount 
of comparative research and publication in the last five years. Oscar Lewis's 
article in the 1955 Yearbook of Anthropology clearly shows important trends 
toward the development of new varieties of comparative studies and a great 
increase in the rigorousness of methodology. As Eggan argues, the method of 
controlled comparison offers perhaps the best hope for the development of the 
scientific aspects of ethnology. A distinguished psychologist once said to me 
that, "Anthropology is primarily a comparative study or it is nothing." Recent 
trends suggest that most ethnologists in the United States would agree with this 
as one of our major objectives. The small number of comparative studies in 
recent dissertations probably results from the current heavy emphasis upon 
field studies in the training of graduate students. It may also be that good 
comparative studies require more experience and sophistication than most 
graduate students possess. 

Clearly concern with culture change is a major characteristic of contemporary 
United States ethnology. It appears both in historical studies and in the pre- 
occupation of many of the structural-functional ethnologists with process. The 
few dissertations addressed to an applied problem all fall in this category. This 
clearly is not representative of the growth of applied ethnology in recent years. 
Possibly the small number of doctoral dissertations reflects a belief that applied 
problems lack sufficient theoretical content, despite the opportunity they may 
offer for the testing of hypotheses. On the other hand, it may reflect the opinion 
of some practitioners in the applied field that the best preparation still is 
training in general ethnology. Despite the great growth of the applied field, 
many feel that there has been little progress in affecting policy formation and 
the establishment of proper relations with planners and administrators. Too 
much applied anthropology, in the opinion of many, is limited to "trouble 
shooting" and the carrying out of policies conceived without adequate ethno- 
logical advice. Nevertheless, the number of ethnologists active today in such 
fields as medicine, public health, education, industrial relations and economic 
development is impressive. 

Interests in the relation of the individual and culture, and especially the 
field of culture and personality, seem under-represented in the dissertation 
topics. Even more surprising is a complete absence of studies in the field of 
national character. As Kroeber has pointed out, however, these two areas still 
lack either generally accepted and well-systematized theory or clear method- 
ology. Moreover, they often require either collaborative effort or more training 
in psychology than most students have time to acquire. 

Apart from culture and personality studies, a psychiatrist well-read in 
ethnological literature recently remarked to me that he discerned a consider- 
able and long continuing interest in United States ethnology in the problems 
of the development of the individual, the acquisition of culture, and interactions 
between the culture and the individual. Possibly many life histories express 
this kind of interest. My psychiatrist friend felt that these interests constituted 

16 Men and Cultures 

an unnamed field in ethnology. Here, without the anthropologist becoming a 
psychologist, much of importance to both disciplines could be accomplished. 

In any case it is clear that, whether one accept or reject much of the current 
work, research along the frontiers between ethnology and psychology has been 
and continues to be an area of exciting novelty and high potential for new 
development. The period of challenging if highly speculative theorizing seems 
about over. Increasingly workers are devoting themselves to the more prosaic 
task of developing adequate methodologies and hammering out bodies of low 
and middle theory which, if they still remain somewhat isolated, are scientifi- 
cally researchable. An example is the recent attempt by psychologists, soci- 
ologists and ethnologists to formalize cross-cultural studies of socialization. 

An important new trend revealed by our analysis is the interest in themes, 
patterns, ethos and values. Originating, insofar as it has a single source, in 
Ruth Benedict's Patterns of Culture, this group of interests reflects recognition of 
the importance of implicit or explicit principles upon the actions of and choices 
made by human beings in a given cultural framework. In addition, some studies 
reject older assumptions of complete cultural relativism and suggest that in at 
least some aspects of culture there may be a hierarchy of values, whether 
measured by postulated ideal systems or, more empirically, with respect to 
efficiency in the satisfaction of basic human needs. 

Certain other trends not well revealed by dissertation titles deserve comment. 
One important trend is the series of stimulating attempts to extend typological 
analysis. The greatest activity seems to be among United States anthropologists 
concerned with Latin America, perhaps properly so, for much of the stimulus 
derives from Robert Redfield's pioneering work of a quarter of a century ago. 
Although I find the approach personally congenial, it is not yet clear whether 
typological analysis will develop new research tools and theories, or will remain 
a system of descriptive categories primarily of heuristic value. 

The development of typological analysis is related to studies of the small 
community within a larger society. Here a significant recent trend is greater 
attention to the interrelations between the community and the larger society 
of which it is a part. Here the interests of sociologists and ethnologists come 
especially close together. The same is true of studies of urbanism. While not 
numerous, the several recent studies by ethnologists of urbanism in non-western 
societies probably foretell a future significant development. The same may be 
the case with the several recent studies of larger non-western societies such as 
China and India which do not confine themselves to the small community or 
to the analysis of some single institution. 

In recent years a few studies have appeared dealing with demography and 
ecology at sophisticated levels. Although this marks something new in the 
ethnological literature of the United States, the numbers still are too few to 
constitute a trend of significance. 

Comments on American ethnology outside the United States necessarily 
are limited by the very much smaller number of ethnologists to be found in 
other countries of the hemisphere. Even where professional training programs 
exist, they rarely reach the Ph.D. level. The Yearbook of Anthropology lists 
only one Ph.D. in ethnology for all Latin America and only three are listed 
for Canada if essentially literary folklore dissertations be excluded. But both in 
Canada and Latin America there has been a substantial increase in persons 
trained at somewhat lower levels or with various levels of training in the uni- 
versities of Europe, England and the United States. Furthermore it should be 

Current Trends in the Development of American Ethnology 17 

noted that most countries offer few university posts in ethnplogy, and in Latin 
America these frequently do not permit full-time devotion either to teaching or 
research. Most full-time jobs are in the applied field and this in large measure 
determines the type of ethnological work which is done. 

Two major types of ethnological research are apparent outside the United 
States. An older tradition is primarily oriented toward historical problems or a 
folkloristic approach. Influence either of Kulturekreise concepts or the older 
tradition of North American historical studies is evident. A relatively new and 
growing group is primarily oriented toward applied problems and is influenced 
mainly by recent trends in British and North American ethnology. The pre- 
dominantly applied focus, coupled with the variety of local concerns, ensures 
considerable individuality in Latin American ethnologists but it tends to limit 
theoretical contributions. 

To recapitulate: 

1 . Studies in the older historical tradition, including diffusion and historical 
reconstructions, are declining in relative importance. The field of ethno- 
history has emerged, and both it and other historical studies increasingly are 
utilizing problems and concepts from structural-functional approaches. At the 
same time, many structural-functional studies are utilizing historical data and 

2. A significant revival of interest in evolutionary studies is occurring. 

3. Analytical studies dealing either with structure, function, or the dynamics 
of change dominate current research. In very large degree these represent 
directly or indirectly the " social science" approach, the search for repetitive 
relationships or processes. 

4. Studies concerned with the relationships between culture and the indivi- 
dual, although less numerous, are producing some of the most challenging as 
well as the most challenged ideas in the field. This is especially true of the 
strongly psychologically or psychoanalytically oriented studies in culture and 

5. Concern with the more intangible aspects of culture such as ethos, themes, 
patterns or value systems is a small but growing part of recent research. 

6. There is renewed interest in comparative studies, accompanied by the 
emergence of new types and methods of study. 

7. Applied ethnology is a field of growing importance. 

8. Research interests increasingly are focused outside the North American 

A few final comments might be in order. The trends I have outlined may seem 
contradictory or diffuse and not to lead to any well-defined characterization of 
American ethnology. I admit this to be the case. The structure of American 
universities, particularly in the United States, has never led to well-defined 
schools in ethnology or other disciplines. The so-called Boasian historical school 
was always in large measure a figment, and its members often disagreed 
vehemently among themselves and with Boas. Only as viewed from such a new 
approach as that of the British functionalists was there an appearance of uni- 

Moreover, the large number of universities, widely scattered in space, and 
both publicly and privately supported, have contributed to independence of 
thought. The development of applied anthropology has been accompanied 
with deep concern and attempts to set up safeguards against encroachments 
upon the intellectual integrity of the researcher. In intellectual as well as 

18 Men and Cultures 

political life, Americans of all nations seek harmony in diversity and tend to 
reject claims for a single road either to salvation or truth. With the growing 
number of ethnologists and their entry into increasingly diverse fields, I venture 
to assert that, as in the past, American ethnology will not be dominated by one 
or a few competing schools, adhere to any official dogma, or be chained to any 
a priori ideological system. 

University of California, 
Los Angeles, California. 


1. Use of the term "ethnology" in this paper follows that of this Congress, broadly 
interpreted, but employment of the term "anthropology" follows United States usage 
to include all the various fields of interest to this Congress. 

2. Kroeber, A. L., "History of Anthropological Thought." Yearbook of Anthropology, 
1955, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, New York, 1955. 
Eggan, Fred., "Social Anthropology and the Method of Controlled Comparison." 
American Anthropologist, 56: 743-763, 1954. Other papers in the Yearbook were helpful, 
especially Oscar Lewis: "Comparisons in Cultural Anthropology." 




Robert J. Braidwood 

Some particular parts of the world because they were the foci of origin and 
early development of successfully persisting cultural traditions attract a sort 
of emotional supercharge of intellectual concern. The Near East, an area 
doubtless correctly accepted as the fountainhead of the western cultural 
tradition, has long been blighted with this supercharge of concern. Without 
wandering far into the history of ideas, one easily recalls Montelius' Ex Oriente 
Lux theory and Reinach's counter-theory of Le Mirage Orientate as a suggestion 
of how the notion has affected Near Eastern archaeology. The Americanists, 
who deal with a set of prehistoric peoples with cultural traditions essentially 
divorced from their own, are most happily little blighted with the full force of 
this emotional supercharge. 

Prehistoric archaeology in western Asia (I do not propose to deal with the 
course of Egyptian prehistory here) began in a milieu of two all-pervading 

1 . Somewhere in western Asia lay the Garden of Eden, and 

2. The classic six-part French scheme of prehistory (Chellean, Acheulean, 
Mousterian, Aurignacian, Solutrean, Magdalenian) was an affair of 
universal world-wide validity. 

Until the 1930's, when a few professionally trained prehistorians began to 
arrive in the area, the course of west Asiatic prehistory was one of an attempt 
to shoe-horn the available materials into these assumptions, or to throw the 
baby out with the bath water. 

By the beginning of World War II, Professor Dorothy Garrod's excellent 
excavation and publication of three caves on Mt. Garmel in Palestine was our 
almost single source of evidence for the range of Pleistocene prehistory in 
western Asia. It was further suspected that significant additions to knowledge 
would come from the work of Dougherty and Ewing at Ksar Akil cave in 
Lebanon, of Rust at the Yabrud caves in Syria, and of Neuville in caves in the 
Dead Sea valley, but details on these excavations were not then available. 
Miss Garrod, using a strictly French terminology until her uppermost levels, 
proposed a general chronological coincidence between her industries and those 
with equivalent names in western Europe. This interpretation gave her: 

1 . An occurrence of neanthropic (or at least non-classic neanderthaloid) 
fossil men who were contemporary with the classic neanderthaloids of 
western Europe, and 

2. An occurrence of blade-tools in context with Acheulean-type hand-axes, 
hence earlier than the normal European occurrence of the blade-tools. 

Vaufrey questioned this interpretation but it was generally accepted and in 

20 Men and Cultures 

1939, in a famous paper, "The Near East as a Gateway for Prehistoric Migra- 
tion," Garrod proposed some as yet unidentified west Asiatic center (possibly 
the Iranian plateau) as the formative area for the whole blade- tool tradition. 

For the later ranges of prehistory, Garrod's uppermost consistent material 
at Mt. Carmel, the Natufian, was variously described as "mesolithic" or 
"neolithic" (there have been and still are a half dozen different meanings for 
this word in use in the area). Claims of a transition from the final Natufian 
cave materials to the basal assemblage of the mound of Jericho were rejected. 
The earliest then (1939) available village materials all seemed to spring fully 
formed out of nowhere. These then earliest available village materials could be 
taken as (1) basal Jericho in the Dead Sea valley, (2) the basal Amouq-Mersin 
materials of Syro-Gilicia, (3) Ninevite I of the Tigris drainage about Mosul 
this was to take on real substance and a new name with Lloyd and Safar's 
1943-44 work at Hassuna, (4) and basal Sialk in north-central Iran. The 
materials of Bakun B II in southwestern Iran should perhaps also be added, 
although their full description is not yet available. This occurrence (Judeo- 
Levant ridge Syro-Cilician hill country Assyrian piedmont into Zagros 
foothills Iranian highlands) indicated already the tendency for simple village- 
farming communities to make their earliest appearance along the hilly flanks 
of the Fertile Crescent. Following the basal Jericho, Amouq-Mersin, Ninevite 
I-Hassuna, and Sialk I levels, a more or less complete skeletal outline of the 
succeeding assemblages up to and into the time of literate history was available. 

Since the War, the publications of Rust and Yabrud and of Neuville and 
Parrot on the Judean hill sites have appeared, and the publication of Ksar Akil 
nears completion. The appearance of blade- tool industries has been traced 
northwards along the Levant coast and the south coast of Turkey. Coon has 
investigated caves near Palmyra in the Syrian desert and the prehistory of 
Iraq has begun to unfold through the work of Solecki at Shanidar, and the 
several sites of the Iraq-Jarmo project. Coon's explorations and testings of 
widely separated areas of Iran have begun for the first time to raise the curtain 
on the Pleistocene of that area. 

So far, the area has revealed nothing with the remote early-middle Pleisto- 
cene antiquity of Africa. Pebble-tools occur with an industry of Acheulean- 
type hand-axes and small flakes in Barda Balka, Iraqi Kurdistan, which Howe 
and Wright tested in 1951, but Barda Balka is not significantly early. Such 
blade-tool industries as Coon found on the Iranian plateau seem quite late to 
Movius, and increased understanding of the details of the blade-tool industries 
of the Levant and Kurdistan have forced Miss Garrod to abandon her old thesis 
of an early center for the blade-tool tradition (in its universal sense) in western 
Asia. In 1953, Garrod concluded that "western Asia, after all, appears to have 
made no direct contribution to the development of the European blade-tool 
culture," neither in its proper Aurignacian nor in the Chatelperronian or 
Gravettian sense. This is not to say that proper blade-tools do not appear in 
western Asia arid early they do appear there, and can even be interpreted as 
being seen at various stages of their evolution in (and probably from) an other- 
wise Levalloiso-Mousterian general type of context. 

As Miss Garrod points out, the area has as yet no known climatic or faunal 
break to set off clearly the "paleolithic" from the "mesolithic" as in Europe. 
Blade tools continue to be made at least until the village-farming communities 
are well under way. We have attempted to cut the Gordian knot of difficulty 
in separating "mesolithic" from "paleolithic" by referring to the late Pleisto- 

Recent Developments in the Study of the Prehistory of Western Asia 2 1 

cene blade-tool industries which include a significant microlithic element as 
the trace of an era of terminal food-gathering. This is not very precise, but it 
does tend to delimit a block of materials which suggest a phase of culture some- 
what like that of the Willey and Phillips "archaic". A fair number of sites can 
begin to be listed for this terminal food-gathering era, and it is probably significant 
that some are open-air sites, not rock shelters. In Iraqi Kurdistan, where 
materials of the Zarzi-Palegawra backed-blade and microlithic industry fall 
near the end of this range, How grows increasingly impressed with the absence 
of anything later than the Zarzian in the caves and with the appearance of 
some Zarzian open sites. There may be no Natufian equivalent in the caves in 
Iraq, only open-site material. Recently, Parrot has reported some sort (possibly 
burial) of open-air Natufian site in northern Palestine. 

On typological grounds and in some cases stratigraphic grounds the next 
block of materials includes elements which suggest the fumbling beginnings of 
food-production. We refer to this as an era of incipient agriculture. Some of these 
materials come from caves, some from open sites. There is ground stone, sickle- 
sheen on flint blades, and a somewhat more elaborate assemblage than that of 
the preceding era. The Natufian of the Levant coast and Karim Shahir of 
Iraqi Kurdistan are cases in point, as are doubtless parts of Goon's Belt and 
Hotu caves. One calls this material "mesolithic" on pain of confusing it with 
what goes before, and " neolithic" on pain of confusing it with later materials. 
The phrase "era of incipient agriculture" seems to express best what is going 
on within it the Willey and Phillips "pre-formative" has a different color of 

Next comes a block of material which clearly represents the establishment of 
the village-farming community. Rarely found in caves, these materials come from 
mound sites with several levels of positive architectural expression. While, at 
the beginning, flint tools and microliths are still the greatest bulk in the assem- 
blage, and pottery is lacking, there are clear indications of food-production. 
Jarmo in Iraqi Kurdistan is a case in point; M'lefaat, which we tested very 
briefly in 1954-55, is a typologically earlier example. Basal Jericho becomes 
increasingly enigmatic to me, with its large size and architectural elaboration. 
This era includes another of the types of material often called "neolithic", but 
since it does represent the beginning phases of settled village-farming com- 
munities I propose to refer to it in its own terms. The sites definitely cluster 
about the hilly flanks of the Fertile Crescent. Very presently there is a fingering 
into the riverine area proper, where the steps towards the stage of literate 
history were first taken. 

Thus it now appears that the foothill-intermontane-valley zone of the flanks 
of the Crescent will prove to be an area of nuclearity for the formation of 
cultures of village-farming community type. The previous era that of incipient 
agriculture is still extremely difficult to bring into focus, and will probably 
always be elusive. If it did have a sort of nuclear area of its own, we don't yet 
know where this was. It could have been, perhaps, part of the speculative center 
which Sauer and Wissmann favor for southeastern Asia. Personally, I would 
rather reserve my judgment in the matter until with the aid of in-the-field 
studies by professionally competent natural scientists we are able to do more 
in the reconstruction of the pertinent contemporary environments. Back of the 
era of incipient agriculture lies (at least for the sake of convenience in classifi- 
cation) a terminal era of food-gathering, beyond that, full Pleistocene pre- 

22 Men and Cultures 

If western Asia remains politically stable and with conditions which facilitate 
scientific research, an enormous amount of very useful work can be under- 
taken. The surface is vast and only scratched from a prehistorian's point of 
view; the old-style royal-tomb and cuneiform-tablet archeologists were little 
concerned with the sites we seek or the questions we ask. We are, in fact, only 
learning ourselves how to put the questions properly. 

University of Chicago, 
Chicago, Illinois. 

Note: the essential items of bibliography are all contained in Robert J. and Linda 
Braidwood, "The Earliest Village Communities of Southwestern Asia," Journal of 
World History I (1953). It hardly seems necessary to repeat them here. 


Leonard Carmichael 

As Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, I consider it a great privilege to 
be one of those to welcome all members of this Congress to its sessions. It is 
especially an honor to express a most cordial greeting to the professional 
anthropologists who are attending the Congress from beyond the borders of 
the United States. We are conscious of the honor that you have paid us in 
coming here. I am sure that I speak for all of my colleagues when I say that we 
are anxious to be of any possible service to you while you are here. 

I presume that the authorities of this Congress invited me to be one of the 
speakers at this session because I am Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution 
of Washington. For the 110 years of its existence, the Smithsonian has been 
concerned with matters that now fall within the scope of present-day 
scientific anthropology. It occurs to me, therefore, that as a footnote to the 
knowledge of the history of your subject, you might be willing to have me say 
something for a few minutes about the Smithsonian Institution as it relates to 
the history of anthropology in America. 

James Smithson, our founder, was a distinguished, aristocratic English 
scientist who had never visited America. On his death he left what was, for 
that time, a very large fortune to the people of the United States to found hi the 
city of Washington an institution for the increase and diffusion of knowledge 
among men. 

With the formal establishment of the Smithsonian in 1846, the federal 
government turned to the new Institution to take over the many uncoordinated 
studies of the American Indian that were then in progress. It is an interesting, 
historic fact that this type of ethnographic research from the first days of the 
Smithsonian has been kept strictly separate from the many functions of Indian 
administration . 

The first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Joseph Henry, possibly 
the greatest scientist born in America between the time of Franklin and the 
Civil War, showed great interest in all branches of ethnological and anthro- 
pological research of his period. In the original plan of organization of the 
Smithsonian which Henry himself prepared and which was formally adopted 
by the Board of Regents on December 13, 1847, it was provided as follows: 
" Ethnological researches, particularly with reference to the different races of 
men in North America ; also explorations and accurate surveys of the mounds 
and other remains of the ancient people of our country." One of the classes of 
publications provided for in the program for the diffusion of knowledge was 
"ethnology, including particular histories, comparative philology, antiquities, 

From the first, Secretary Henry made it a point to keep in touch with 
recognized scholars engaged in research in anthropology, as well as in all other 
fields of science. One of these scholars was Albert Gallatin, who has been 
described as the first to bring order and system to the Tower of Babel that up to 

24 Men and Cultures 

that time had been the problem of American Indian linguistics. The extended 
correspondence of Henry with Gallatin and with Lewis Henry Morgan, now 
in the Smithsonian files, constitutes an interesting record of the development of 
anthropological and linguistic thought at this significant time. 

Secretary Henry energetically sought means of publishing the reports of 
government-sponsored and transcontinental railroad expeditions as well as 
those of the Smithsonian itself. It is a notable fact that previous to the formal 
founding of the Smithsonian's special Bureau of American Ethnology, the 
Institution had already issued upward of 600 papers dealing with ethnology 
and archaeology. It may indeed be noted that the first scientific monograph 
published by the Smithsonian Institution was the now classic "Ancient Monu- 
ments of the Mississippi Valley" by E. G. Squier and E. H. Davis. This 
beautifully illustrated and printed study is Volume I of the well-known series, 
Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge. Today the Smithsonian has published 
more than 7,000 books and monographs dealing with a wide range of scientific 
and academic studies in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and 
other fields as well as in anthropology. 

During the Civil War, Secretary Henry of the Smithsonian Institution was 
one of those instrumental in founding the National Academy of Sciences. This 
academy now has an active section on anthropology. The Academy is also 
concerned in scientific work through its affiliation with the National Research 
Council. This council has an important Division of Anthropology and Psy- 
chology. This division serves as a national center for research related to these 
two sciences. Through the years the Division of Anthropology and Psychology 
of the National Research Council has also done much to promote a stable 
relationship between those aspects of anthropology and psychology which deal 
in an applied way with man and his behavior. 

The great date for anthropology at the Smithsonian was 1879. It was in 
this year that our amazing John Wesley Powell founded the Bureau of American 
Ethnology of the Smithsonian Institution. With this event, the Smithsonian 
historian feels that anthropology in our country came of age. Powell was not 
enthusiastically favorable in his expressed judgments of even the Smithsonian's 
own early publications in his chosen field. He asserts, as other later scholars 
have sometimes also been tempted to say, that "most of the literature of the 
past is a vast assemblage of argument in support of error." Powell made it his 
mission to eliminate from consideration in his new Bureau of Ethnology all 
treatment of unverifiable facts or of merely speculative theories about the lost 
tribes of Israel and other fancies dealing with the origin of the American 

The energetic one-armed Powell is thus still almost a canonized figure at 
the Smithsonian. His epic first trip through the Grand Canyon of the Colorado 
made him a national hero. He began with a scientific interest in geology, but 
on his exploring trips he soon became more deeply concerned with the human 
problems involved in a systematic study of the North American Indian. Once 
he had secured the establishment, under the sheltering arms of the Smithsonian, 
of his new glistening Bureau of Ethnology, he resigned as Director of the Geo- 
logical Survey, a great governmental organization which he also had helped 
found. From that time on he devoted the remainder of his dynamic and colorful 
life to promoting in his own way the systematic scientific study of every aspect 
of the archaeology, the physical makeup, the linguistics, and the habits of life 
of the various American Indian groups. 

Anthropology and the Smithsonian Institution 25 

Powell's very extensive personal dealings with the Indians made him sure 
that a scientific study of all the Indian peoples would be of lasting value to 
ethnological science. He also was convinced that such investigations would pro- 
vide a basis for wise national policies and even for military relations with the 
great tribes of the west. Powell very early recognized that aboriginal Indian 
culture was disappearing and was soon destined to vanish. It was thus his 
continuing aim to record the nature of this life before it was lost forever as an 
object of scientific study. In his opinion, such a record would be no sterile 
data pile, but it would rather have far-reaching significance for the sociologists 
and historians as well as for the anthropologists of the future. He even allowed 
himself to think that the kind of scientific racial study which he proposed might 
help in the high endeavor of improving the lot of human beings everywhere, 
even in modern cultures. 

Powell chose as his bibliographer in the new Smithsonian Bureau James C. 
Pilling. This was a wise choice. Before his death, the Smithsonian published nine 
large volumes of bibliographical material, based on Pilling's meticulous study 
of appropriate materials in the major libraries of this country and Europe. With 
these bibliographic materials as their starting point, Powell and his collabor- 
ators, in the tradition of Gallatin, took such strides toward a linguistic classifi- 
cation of Indian languages that in 1891 the famous "linguistic map of North 
America" was published in the Seventh Annual Report of the Bureau. It is 
said that this work was so well done that, save for minor refinements, the 65- 
year-old map is still accepted by scientific linguists as basic in their work with 
Indian speech. 

Powell's other task, which was conducted simultaneously with the linguistic 
program, was the preparation and publishing of his synonymy designed to 
eliminate the endless confusion of tribal nomenclature. Eventually almost all 
the leading anthropologists of the country became collaborators in this monu- 
mental work, which was finally published in 1907 as the "Handbook of Ameri- 
can Indians North of Mexico." This justly famous "Bulletin 30" of the Bureau 
of American Ethnology is still in great demand. Dr. Matthew W. Stirling is the 
present distinguished successor of Powell as head of the Bureau of American 
Ethnology. At this point, I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Stirling 
for his help in writing this paper. Dr. Stirling asserts that this encyclopedic 
two-volume handbook still remains the "bible" of serious students of North 
American ethnology. It far transcends its original purpose of settling mere 
tribal names. It brought order to such matters as the differing social and 
political organizations, the religious, and the general life practices of the 
amazingly varied Indian groups of this continent. 

Cyrus Thomas was selected by Powell also to bring order to a tangled 
scientific field. His task was to clear up the chaos of New-World archaeology. 
In 1890, Thomas published a critical report on all the papers relating to mound 
explorations that had been so fully published previously by the Smithsonian. 
In this report the fog of mystery was first lifted from the subject of the Mound 
Builders. He demonstrated that these great and interesting American human 
monuments were constructed by Indians. In an especially sad reversal of 
previous romance, he was able to show that even some of the most impressive 
mounds were erected by known tribes and in historic times. 

While these varied and general studies were being carried forward, the 
Smithsonian continued to publish monographs on particular tribes and on 
special topics related to Indians. Among the subjects of such study which may 

26 Men and Cultures 

be mentioned is that of H. C. Yarrow on mortuary customs; Garrick Mallery 
on petroglyphs and picture writing; James Mooney on population statistics; 
Stewart Culin on games and sports; and William H. Holmes on the lithic 

Following Powell's death in 1902, he was succeeded in the headship of the 
Bureau by one of the investigators he had trained, William H. Holmes. Like 
his notable predecessor, Holmes was a dynamic as well as a scholarly man. 
He, also, had been an explorer in the west. He was a most versatile man, for 
he made lasting contributions to scientific geology, to several areas of anthro- 
pology, and, surprisingly enough, also to art. His pictures of the early great 
West and especially of the Grand Canyon are said to be among the finest ever 
made. His stratigraphic study, published in 1885 as "Evidences of the Antiquity 
of Man on the Site of the City of Mexico" brought his name to the favorable 
attention of scientists throughout the world. His remarkable two-volume work 
Archaeological Studies Among the Ancient Cities of Mexico had a similarly favorable 

Under Holmes and his successors, the original program outlined by Powell, 
with constructive modifications, has been continued and is still a vital guide 
in the work of the active, present-day Bureau of American Ethnology of the 
Smithsonian. Among some of the more recent publications in the tradition of 
Powell and Holmes that may be mentioned are John R. S wanton's "Handbook 
of the Indians of the Southeast," A. L. Kroeber's "Handbook of the Indians 
of California," and the monumental seven-volume "Handbook of South 
American Indians," edited by Julian H. Steward. 

During the almost fourscore years of its existence, the Bureau has published 
some 225 volumes on the scientific study of the American Indian. This truly 
vast accumulation of knowledge preserves for posterity a detailed knowledge of 
nearly every aspect of American Indian life. Scholars who otherwise could not 
have known the great, human picture presented by the Indian tribes of our 
continent thus have a lasting base of accurate scientific working material. 

In addition to the Bureau of American Ethnology, the Smithsonian Institu- 
tion is also concerned in the scientific development of anthropology in a differ- 
ent but closely related administrative organization: the Department of Anthro- 
pology of the United States National Museum. This Museum is the largest of 
the ten units of the Smithsonian, and its more than 43 million catalogued 
objects makes it now probably the largest museum in the world. William Henry 
Holmes, who did so much for the Bureau of American Ethnology, more than 
any other man, must be thought of as creating the present active program of the 
Department of Anthropology of this great Smithsonian museum. From 1897 
to 1902 he served as Head Curator of the Department, then, as we have seen, 
for a time as Chief of the Smithsonian's Bureau of American Ethnology, only 
to return from 1910 to 1920 again as Head Curator of the Department of 
Anthropology of the Museum. 

Among Holmes's colleagues were Professor Otis T. Mason, Thomas Wilson, 
and Charles Rau. Walter Hough, from 1886 until 1935, worked at the great 
task of cataloguing the Smithsonian's monumental anthropological collections, 
which are among the largest in the world. He also was concerned in sixteen 
International Expositions which added to the world's anthropological knowl- 
edge as well as to the collections of the Smithsonian. 

During the administration of the Smithsonian's notable third Secretary, 
Samuel P. Langley, a new division of the Department of Anthropology, known 

Anthropology and the Smithsonian Institution 27 

as the Division of Physical Anthropology, was created. The initiation of work 
in this field was largely due to the transfer to the Smithsonian of a small col- 
lection of human skulls, then stored in the Army Medical Museum. Dr. AleS 
Hrdlika came to the Smithsonian in 1903 to organize this new work. By the 
time of his retirement in 1942, the physical-anthropological specimens of the 
Smithsonian numbered 36,814. A large part of these collections had been made 
and intensely studied and published by Hrdlic'ka himself in his "Catalogues of 
Human Crania in the United States National Museum." The important work 
initiated by this distinguished scientist is carried on today by two outstanding 
members of the Smithsonian staff, Dr. T. Dale Stewart and Dr. M. T. Newman. 

During the Second World War the Institute of Social Anthropology of the 
Smithsonian Institution, under the directorship of Dr. Julian H. Steward and 
Dr. George M. Foster, conducted a number of specific studies in social anthro- 
pology in Central and South America, from which important publications 

In October of 1945 the River Basin Surveys were established as a unit of 
the Bureau of American Ethnology in order to fulfill the Smithsonian Institu- 
tion's part in the Inter-Agency Archaeological and Paleontological Salvage 
Program which had been organized as a cooperative undertaking between the 
Institution, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Reclamation of the 
Department of the Interior, and the Corps of Engineers of the Department of 
the Army for the purpose of recovering such materials as would be lost through 
the construction of dams in the numerous river basins throughout the United 
States. Dr. Frank H. H. Roberts, Jr., Associate Director of the Bureau of 
American Ethnology, has served from the first as Director of the River Basin 
Surveys program. Field work actually got under way in the summer of 1946 
when three parties began a series of surveys in proposed reservoir areas in the 
Missouri Basin. The program expanded rapidly to other parts of the country 
and by the summer of 1950 the original staff of six archaeologists has grown to 
fourteen full-time archaeologists, one geologist, and eighteen clerical and 
laboratory workers. 

During the ten years in which the River Basin Surveys have been operating, 
archaeological surveys and excavations have been conducted in 244 reservoir 
areas in 27 states, and four canal areas and one lock project also have been 
investigated. The survey parties located and reported 4,365 archaeological 
sites and recommended 862 of them for limited testing or excavation. By the 
end of the 1956 summer field season 335 sites in 47 reservoir basins scattered 
over 1 7 different states had either been tested or partially dug. The informa- 
tion obtained from them has added greatly to the knowledge of the history of 
the American Indian and of the early contacts between the aborigines and the 
encroaching European civilization. The excavations have been in sites ranging 
from those occupied 10,000 years ago by hunting peoples to those occupied as 
late as the 1870's by earth-lodge dwelling Indians on the Western Plains. 
The results of certain phases of the excavation have appeared in various 
scientific journals, in Bulletins of the Bureau of American Ethnology, and in 
the Miscellaneous Collections of the Smithsonian Institution. At present a 
large number of manuscripts have been completed and are awaiting publica- 
tion. Most of them will appear in the Bulletin Series of the Bureau of American 
Ethnology. During the course of the investigations numerous state and local 
institutions have cooperated in the program and have contributed to its 

28 Men and Cultures 

Besides those whose names have already been mentioned, the active staff 
of the Smithsonian in the field of anthropology now includes Dr. Frank H. H. 
Roberts, Jr., Dr. Henry B. Collins, Dr. W. C. Sturtevant, Frank M. Setzler 
parenthetically, may I here also express my appreciation to Mr. Setzler for 
his help in preparing this paper H. W. Krieger, Dr. Saul H. Riesenberg, 
Dr. W. R. Wedel, Dr. Clifford Evans, his wife, Dr. Betty J. Meggers, and a 
number of other scientists. 

As the seventh Secretary of the Smithsonian, I am happy to continue to 
support the academic program in anthropology devised by my first predecessor, 
Joseph Henry. He and his successors have found the dictates of James Smithson 
to be at once inspiring and also amazingly realistic. In anthropology as in 
other fields of science, therefore, the modern Smithsonian concerns itself with 
both Smithson's increase of knowledge, that is, research, and also with the task 
of the diffusion of knowledge. The main avenues of diffusion of knowledge at 
the Smithsonian are publication and the development of educational exhibits 
in its museums to inform the public, in what it is hoped is an attractive way, 
concerning the advances of knowledge in each great scientific field. The record 
of the Smithsonian Institution during its first 110 years in the science of anthro- 
pology is thus surely one of useful service. 

This present international congress will certainly result in the clarification 
of new ideas and the explication of new research techniques. Your work here 
will thus help the Smithsonian Institution and all other anthropological 
research centers to do even better the great work of advancing a sound and 
factual science of man. By your assistance we at the Smithsonian will gain in 
knowledge concerning the physical, social, spiritual, and material constructs 
and insights of a strange talking mammal called Homo sapiens. 

Smithsonian Institution, 
Washington, D.C. 


G. F. Debetz 

En URSS le terrne Panthropologie tout court veut dire Panthropologie physique. 
Cette science est representee par les institutions suivantes : 

1) L'Institut de 1'Anthropologie de PUniversit6 de Moscou. Cette institution 
est r&ervee exclusivement aux recherches scientifiques. Un mus^e est adjoint 
a Tlnstitut. 

2) Chaire de 1'Anthropologie de PUniversite de Moscou. La chaire s'occupe 
de Penseignement ainsi que des recherches scientifiques. 

L'Institut et la Chaire constituent la section d'Anthropologie du Conseil 
Scientifique de la Faculte de Biologic. 

3) Section d'Anthropologie de Tlnstitut d' Ethnographic de P Academic des 
Sciences de 1'URSS. Le laboratoire d'anthropologie du Musee a Leningrad est 
attache a cette section, ainsi qu'un laboratoire special qui s'occupe de la 
restitution des tetes des Hommes prehistoriques. 

En outre il existe une Chaire d'Anthropologie a PUniversite de Tachkent 
et des laboratoires d'Anthropologie aux Academies des Sciences de PUkraine, 
de la G^orgie, d'Azerbaidjan, du Tadjikistan et de PEsthonie. 

Enfin les recherches anthropologiques se poursuivent d'une maniere plus ou 
moins privee par quelques anatomistes des Instituts de Medecine. 

L'activite anthropologique se poursuit dans trois domaines. 

1) Dans celui de la Morphologic humaine y compris Panthropologie 

2) Dans le domaine de PAnthropogenese y compris les etudes des Primates. 

3) Dans le domaine de 1'Anthropologie ethnique (Raciologie) . 

Les recherches morphologiques durant la derniere decade concernent surtout 
les etudes sur Panthropologie appliquee (standardisation de vetements, de 
chaussures etc.). Des procedes biometriques ont e"te etablis par M. V. Ignatiev 
pour calculer la quantite la plus rationnelle de difFerentes pointures de tel ou 
tel objet. 

Au cours de ces recherches on a rassembl^ une vaste documentation anthro- 
pometrique concernant les personnes adultes et les enfants des deux sexes. Ces 
mat^riaux servent maintenant pour des Etudes les plus diverses. On a constate* 
par exemple que les courbes de croissance des dimensions de la tete et de la 
face ne pr&entent pas la preponderance des filles par rapport aux gar^ons qui 
se manifeste comme on sait dans la courbe de la croissance de la taille a Page 
de 11 a 14 ans. Les mat^riaux c^phalom^triques ont permis de verifier les 
tableaux de croissance des dimensions du crane 6tablis d'apres P6tude de quel- 
ques centaines de cranes d'enfants. 

Les rsultats des travaux du laboratoire de la restitution piastique dirig6 par 
M. M. Gu6rassimov sont exposes dans les Musses de Moscou, de Leningrad et 
d'autres villes sovi^tiques. Pour le grand public les tetes restitutes dans le 

30 Men and Cultures 

laboratoire sont beaucoup plus eioquentes que les cranes. Un album de ces 
ttes est en etat de preparation. Mais ce n'est pas seulement la popularisation 
de la science qui est le but unique des travaux de ce laboratoire. Des questions 
purement morphologiques s'y posent egalement. Les correlations entre les 
particularites du squelette facial d'une part et les tissus et les teguments de 
Pautre itudiees surtout 1'aide des radiographies sont 1'objet principal des 
travaux effectu^s par le laboratoire. 

Une communication speciale a et deja presentee par Pauteur du present 
rapport sur les decouvertes paieoanthropologiques le nombre desquelles est 
considerablement accru durant les dernires annees. 

Ce sont surtout les probl&mes de 1'evolution de Phumanite qui ont attire 
Pattention des chercheurs sovietiques dans le domaine de Panthropogen&se. 
Des Etudes critiques ont et publi^es par J. J. Roguinski sur les trouvailles de 
Swanscombe et de Fontechevade. Dans ces etudes Pauteur met en doute 
Phypothese sur Pexistence du Praesapiens. Nombre d'hypoth&ses ont ete 
emises sur les causes de la transformation de PHomme neandertalien ou 
preneandertalien en Homme actuel. D'apres P. P. Efimenko c'est Pexogamie 
qui a provoque la formation de la nouvelle espce par suite d'un melange 
intense de differents groupes, jusqu'ici isoies. Selon G. A. Bontch-Osmolovski 
c'est Padaptation progressive du tronc et des membres a la marche bipede et 
aux conditions du travail qui etaient les agents principaux au cours de la 
susdite transformation. Enfin d'apr&s J. J. Roguinski ce sont plutot les qualites 
mentales etroitement liees avec les caract&res physiques qui ont permis a 
PHomo sapiens de prendre le dessus au cours de la selection naturelle. 

La question des causes de la naissance de PHomme actuel se pose non seule- 
ment devant les partisans de la theorie concernant Pexistence d'une phase 
neandertalienne (ce n'etaient pas necessairement les Hommes mousteriens de 
PEurope), au cours de developpement de Phumanite. De meme pour les adeptes 
de la theorie sur Pexistence du Praesapiens des questions analogues se posent 
(au moins si Pon admet la conception monophyietique) car Pascendant commun 
des Praesapiens et des Neandertaliens devait en tous les cas avoir les pricipaux 
caracteres neandertaloi'des ou pithecanthropoides : boite cranienne aplatie, 
front fuyant, face grande, menton absent, posture bipede plus ou moins im- 
parfaite etc. 

Une discussion a ete organisee en 1949 sur les probtemes de Panthropo- 
gen&se. Deux points de vue ont ete discutes. 

Selon les uns (et c'est la majorite des anthropologistes sovietiques avec 
J. J. Roguinski en tete) Pesp&ce de PHomme actuel (Homo sapiens) s'est 
formee sur une aire relativement limitee. II existait ainsi un Homo sapiens non 
divise en races. Selon ce point de vue les Neandertaliens " classiques" (L'Homme 
de La Chapelle etc.), les Hommes de Ngandong et de Rhodesie ne sont pas les 
ascendants des races actuelles. 

Selon les autres (et c'est Pavis de Pauteur de la presente communication) les 
races du stade neandertalien de PEurope de PAsie et de PAfrique ont donne 
naissance aux races modernes. Un Homo sapiens indifferencie n'existait done 
jamais. Ainsi les Neandertaliens de PEurope sont les ascendants des Euro- 
poides; les Hommes de Ngandong et de Broken- Hill ceux des Australo- 
negroi'des; on n'a pas encore trouve les ascendants des Mongoloides modernes, 
mais c'est peut-tre le Sinanthrope qui en est un. Done F. Weidenreich avait 
raison en ce qui concerne les rapports phylogenetiques mais Imminent anthro- 
pologiste avait tort quand il pensait que le developpement de Phumanite etait 

Anthropologie Physique en U.R.S.S. 31 

dft des causes spontan^es. C'est toujours dans les conditions de la vie qu'il faut 
chercher ces causes. 

L'^tude, encore inachevee, des encephales des Hommes fossiles compares 
aux ceux des Primates est entreprise par le laboratoire de c^r^brologie dirig6 
par J. G. Chevtchenko (Instirut d'Anthropologie de PUniversite de Moscou). 

Les Etudes raciologiques se poursuivent surtout dans trois domaines: les 
questions th^oriques constituent la base du premier; la paleoanthropologie 
raciale (du N^olithique, de PAge du Bronze etc.) appartient au deuxi&me; 
enfin le troisi&me domaine traite les questions sur la somatologie ethnique. 

Les questions de la valeur relative des caract&res anthropologiques a te 
largement discutee. On a etabli une chelle hierarchique des caract&res somato- 
logiques et craniologiques. En ce qui concerne le crane c'est Petude de Papla- 
tissement transversal de la face en general et du nez en particulier qui a surtout 
attire Pattention des chercheurs. Aucune comparaison de types raciaux 
(fossiles ou modernes) n'est plus possible sans tenir compte de la valeur syste- 
matique (taxinomique) de tel ou tel autre caractere. 

On a constate que les caracteres les plus importants ne peuvent pas etre 
exprim^s par les mensurations. Aucun diametre, aucun indice anthropo- 
m&rique ne peut servir pour la distinction des deux grand'races qui forment 
la population de PURSS. La pilosite, la morphologic des pommettes, du nez, 
du pli palp6brale etc. doivent etre fixes dans les enquetes anthropom&riques 
d'une fa$on descriptive. De graves difficultes methodiques se posent alors. II 
devient presque impossible de comparer statistiquement les descriptions faites 
par de differents chercheurs surtout quand il s'agit de types plus ou moins 
proches. On a imagine des echantillons servant de modules pour avoir la possi- 
bilite de comparer plus exactement les observations de divers chercheurs. 
Mais avec cela le probl&me n'est pas encore compietement r&olu. On est 
souvent oblige de repeter les recherches, au moins partiellement, de corriger 
les notes des enquetes a Paide des photographies etc. On a cherche a ^tablir des 
moyens pour mesurer les soi-disants "caracteres descriptifs" mais jusqu'a 
present cela n'a donne aucun r&ultat satisfaisant. Le precede le plus efficace 
pour comparer les r6sultats obtenus par de differents chercheurs est Petude 
simultanee de divers groupes. 

Par exemple la mission anthropologique de PAcad6mie des Sciences de la 
G6orgie (1950-54) fait des enquetes non seulement sur les G^orgiens (pr&s de 
5.000) mais aussi sur un nombre en somme a peu pr&s egal d'autres peuples qui 
habitent la Georgie et regions avoisinantes : les colons Russes et Esthoniens, 
sans parler des Arm^niens, des Azerbaidjanais etc. De la meme fa^on quelques 
groupes de G^orgiens et d'Arm^niens sont Studies par la mission azerbaidja- 
nienne (1951-52). Les mat6riaux de la mission des r^publiques baltiques (1951- 
53) englobent ^ part quelque milliers d'Esthoniens, de Lettoniens et de Lithua- 
niens aussi les Russes et les Bi&orussiens. La mission de Kirghisie (1953-54) 
a rassemb!6 1.500 enquetes sur les Kirghises et un nombre en somme & peu 
prs ^gal sur les Ouzbeks, les Tadjiks, les Kasakhes et meme les Altaiens. Les 
travaux effectu^s parmi les Russes du Nord englobent 6galement les KanSliens 
et les Zyrianes etc. Avec ces "points de connexion" on arrive k la possibility 
de comparer les differences relatives sinon les resultats des observations directes. 
On peut pousser la methode plus loin encore. 

Pour comparer par exemple les resultats des observations morphologiques 
des anthropologistes sovi6tiques et les anthropologistes am<5ricains de Picole 
de Harvard on n'a qu' confronter d'abord les donnes obtenues sur P6tude 

32 Men and Cultures 

des groupes plus on moins identiques. Comme exemple on peut citer les 
Esquimaux, les Coreens etc. dont Petude peut servir de base pour la com- 
paraison r^ciproque. 

On connait dej bien les caract&res des deux grand'races de PURSS (euro- 
poi'de et mongoloide) . Cependant il y a encore beaucoup de difficult^ en ce 
qui concerne la classification genealogique des races secondaires (ou types 
anthropologiques) . La plupart des anthropologistes sovi^tiques sont quand 
meme d'accord sur les questions generates de la classification. On distingue 
deux grand'races et deux groupes intermediaires savoir: le groupe ouralo- 
laponoide (plus ancien) et le groupe touranien (plus recent). L'origine du 
groupe ouralo-laponoide est encore 1'objet de discussion. Deux hypotheses en 
ont t6 mises. Selon les uns, le groupe ouralo-laponoide constitue un type 
special et indiff<6rencte. Selon les autres (et c'est 1 la majorite des anthropo- 
logistes sovietiques) le groupe ouralo-laponoide s'est form6 comme resultat 
d'anciens m^tissages au cours du premier peuplement de la Sib^rie occidentaie 
et de la partie nord de la Plaine Russe. 

L'6tude des empreintes digi tales et palmaires appuie la deuxi&me hypoth&se. 
En tout cas il n'y a que des ressemblances exclusivement morphologiques (tres 
limit^es d'ailleurs) entre les ouralo-laponoides et les types du Nord-Est de 

On a propos6 une classification de types secondaires de la grand'race mongo- 
loi'de savoir: le type arctique (avec Esquimaux, Tchouktchis et Koryaks 
comme repr&entants), le type baikalien (Tongouses et Youkaghires), le type 
centrasiatique (avec Bouriates et Touviniens comme representants les plus 
pures de cette race) . 

Pour la grand'race europoide c'est la pigmentation et la forme du nez qui 
sont les plus caractristiques au point de vue g6n6alogique. L'indice cephalique 
(surtout si on tient compte des deformations dues k Pinfluence du berceau, 
au Caucase et au Turkestan) n'a qu'une valeur tr&s restreinte. Mais de grandes 
difficult^ se posent quand on passe a la craniologie des races europoides. On n'a 
pas etabli les caract^res craniologiques des Europoides blonds et bruns. 

La massivet^ relative des cranes nordiques doit etre consideree comme un 
caractere sinon primitif du moins protomorphe. Dans les anciennes sepultures 
du Caucase et du Turkestan, ainsi qu'en Asie anterieure et en Afrique du Nord 
on trouve souvent des cranes plus ou moins massifs, ce qui ne peut etre consider^ 
comme vestige des invasions nordiques. Ce sont plutot les traces de survivance 
du stade protoeuropoide ou cromagnien. 

Le role et la validit^ des faits anthropologiques pour P^tude de Pethno- 
gen&se etait dgalement Pobjet des Etudes th^oriques. Certes il n'existe pas de 
rapports directs entre la race et la langue, la race et la culture. De meme ni la 
culture ni la langue ne servent pas de caract&res raciaux. Mais cela ne signifie 
pas que les Etudes raciologiques ne sont pas utiles pour les etudes historiques. 
Telle ou autre repartition g^ographique des races, ainsi que telles ou autres 
migrations ne peuvent pas etre envisage' es comme cause des ^venements his- 
toriques. N^anmoins la geographic raciale est ^troitement lie Phistoire. 
Ainsi la somatologie ethnique et la paleoanthropologie raciale deviennent des 
sciences historiques. 

Ce sont les anthropologistes qui ont reviles aux historiens que les elements 
asiatiques ont pris part au peuplement du Nord de la Plaine Russe apr&s la 
retraite des glaciers. C'est Panthropologie qui a montr que les anciens habi- 
tants des steppes de la Sib^rie m^ridionale ont & en relations 6troites avec 

Anthropologie Physique en U.R.S.S. 33 

PEurope. Les etudes anthropologiques ont permis de constater que les grands 
mouvements des peuples asiatiques ont commence* quelque sie*cles avant 
Pinvasion des Huns. La somatologie ethnique a re*ussi d'etablir la parente* la 
plus 6troite entre les Toungouses et les Yukaghires, ce qui a permis d'affirmer 
que Pexpansion des Toungouses fut surtout 1'expansion de la langue toungouse. 
Au contraire la formation du peuple Yakoute est due r6ellement a une migration 
car physiquement les Yakoutes sont beaucoup plus proches aux Bouriates et 
aux Mongols qu'aux Toungouses. Chez les peuples turques de la region des 
monts d' Altai et les Sayans on a procede a la distinction de trois types ou 
plutot trois genres de parente anthropologique a savoir: parente des Altaiens 
septentrionaux avec les Ougriens de la Siberie occidentale, parente des Alta'iens 
meridionaux avec les Mongols et enfin parente des Karagasses avec les Toun- 
gouses, surtout avec les Toungouses occidentaux. Ici les faits anthropologiques 
se concordent parfaitement avec les faits ethnographiques. Gette concordance 
suscite une observation g6n6rale : les types anthropologiques sont lies beaucoup 
plus 6troitement aux groupes culturels qu'aux groupes linguistiques. Chez les 
Bachkires par exemple la coincidence des types culturels et des types raciaux 
est presque parfait. La meme observation peut se rapporter aux Ouzbeks: 
ceux qui ^taient encore nomades au XI X e sidcle ressemblent aux Kasaks ou 
aux Kirghises ; les Ouzbeks sedentaires sont apparentes aux Tadjiks. 

Ce sont justement les rapports et les liens entre les observations anthro- 
pologiques, ethnologiques, linguistiques et prehistoriques qui sont actuellement 
1'objet principal des recherches des anthropologistes sovtetiques. 

Institute of Ethnography, U.S.S.R. 



G. F. Debetz 

One cannot yet say whether the territory of the U.S.S.R. encompasses an area 
in which the transformation from ape to man took place. However, it is useful 
to recall that the morphological particulars of the teeth of the Tertiary ape 
(Udabnopithecus) found in Georgia in 1939 revealed several specific details 
similar to human teeth. One can point out among these details especially the 
position of the "cingulum" on the exterior (labial) side of the tooth, as is true 
for Sinanthropus, and none on the interior, as found in the chimpanzee or his 
ancestor, Proconsul. 

In any case, it is obvious that man appeared in U.S.S.R. territory during 
the Chellean period. Hand axes typical of this period have been found in 
Armenia. In addition, Acheulean finds are known from (Ossetie du Sud), on 
the Caucasian coast of the Black Sea, in the Crimea, and in the Ukraine. But 
no remains of Abbevillean or Acheulean man have yet been found in Russian 

Mousterian remains are well known over a vast territory. Mousterian sites 
are known in the south of Bielo-Russia, on the Volga and in Turkestan. The 
most ancient paleoanthropological finds in the U.S.S.R. also belong to the 
Mousterian period. 

Publication has very recently been made of a work concerning excavations 
in the Kiik-Koba cave (in the Crimea), where bones of two hands and two feet 
have been found. By comparing these finds with others, one can say that 
Kiik-Koba man has traits in common with the Neanderthaloids of Western 
Europe, and can be clearly distinguished from the fossil men of Mount Carmel 
in Palestine. The basic difference consists in the width of the feet and hands. 
The hands and feet of both Kiik-Koba man and the Neanderthals of Western 
Europe are much larger than those of Palestine man. 

The Neanderthal infant's cranium from the Techik-Tache cave (Uzbekistan, 
1938) has recently been given an additional examination. It has been stated 
that this cranium most closely resembles the infant crania from La Quina 
(France) and from Subalyuk (Hungary). The characteristic Neanderthaloid 
peculiarities are less pronounced in the Techik-Tache cranium than in that 
of the infant Engis II (Belgium). These peculiarities are, however, much more 
striking than those of the child's cranium from Palestine, Skhul I. 

In 1953, in the Late Mousterian deposits of the Starosselie cave in the 
Crimea, the skeleton of a year-and-a-half-old child was found. In spite of 
several primitive characteristics (large teeth, etc.) Starosselie man uncon- 
testably belongs to the species Homo Sapiens. There is no chance at all that it 
even belonged to the same developmental stage as that of Techik-Tache man; 
the latter is much more primitive. Skhul I occupies a place between Techik- 
Tache man and Starosselie man. 

Summary of Paleo-Anthropological Investigation in the U.S.S.R. 35 

All these comparisons are based on extensive documentation brought together 
by Soviet anatomists some not yet published, concerning the morphology of 
infant crania. 

However, one must ask whether one has the right to use data obtained 
through studies made on modern man to define the level of phylogentic develop- 
ment of any fossil skull. With this in mind, we have made many comparisons 
with chimpanzee skulls. Of course, the dental age was taken into account. 

The fact that the cranium of Starosselie belonged to the species Homo 
Sapiens makes it possible to postulate three alternatives: 

1. That the cranium has been dated incorrectly. This supposition seems to 
us to be unlikely. 

2. Starosselie man is the Homo Sapiens representative belonging to the 
same geological period as Neanderthal man. The author does not consider 
this hypothesis to be likely. 

3. Starosselie man belongs to a very late Mousterian period, it is even 
possible that he represents a " mousteriform " culture, of a period between the 
Mousterian and the Late (Upper, Recent) Paleolithic. 

The latter hypothesis, corresponding to many archaeological and geological 
data, seems in the opinion of the author most likely. 

In addition to the regions previously inhabited, Upper Paleolithic man 
occupied the Russian plain as far as the Kama River, and, in Siberia, east to 
the Transbaikal region, and as far north as 55-6 degrees latitude. 

One can already distinguish in the physical type of Upper Paleolithic man the 
earlier forms of modern races. At least this is the personal opinion of the 
author and of many Soviet researchers. Others (such as, for example, V. V. 
Bounak) believe that Upper Paleolithic man represents a sub-species poly- 
morph, not yet divided into races. 

In 1937, at the site of Afontova Gora near Krasnoiarsk, a fragment of a 
frontal bone with a very much flattened nasal ridge was found. One may recall 
that this is the essential characteristic of the Mongoloid race. 

During the course of the construction of the Volga-Don Canal one found, 
next to the fossil bones of Pleistocene animals, cervus megaceros and others of 
the human skulls. One of these has a facial skeleton well preserved and is of 
the Cromagnon type. The other, of which the skull cap only is preserved, 
shows a few traits of resemblance with the Brno I skull. The fluoric analysis 
gives a considerable antiquity to these skulls, but their archaeological age is 
rather doubtful. 

In the region of the village of Kostienki (close to the town of Voronej), 
where archaeological work has been carried on for a long time, four tombs 
were found in 1952-54, well dated from the recent Paleolithic. Among these, a 
whole skeleton was discovered at the Markina Gora station, well preserved, of 
a young adult male. The skull is characterized by an accentuated prognathism 
and by a large nose. The author seems to believe that the skeleton is related to 
the Grimaldi race, but it must be noted that it is distinguished by a very 
projecting nose. He is a small dolichocephal, and measures 160 cm. in height. 
At the Kostienki II station another skeleton of a more recent period was found; 
it is rather poorly preserved, only the facial bones being present. He is a 
Cromagnon, though the height is slighter than the usual or typical Cromagnon. 
Two other skeletons are children, one shows Cromagnon traits and the other 
seems related to the Przedmost skulls. 

36 Men and Cultures 

The skeletons of Fatma-Koba and of Moursak-Koba in Crimea are dated 
from the Mesolithic. These skeletons are Cromagnon in the broadest sense of 
the word. However, they are marked by a few isolated Negroid traits which are 
ot strongly marked. During the past few years, several necropolis dating from 
the Mesolithic have been found in Ukraine not far from Dnepropetrovsk. 
There also skulls showing Cromagnon traits have been found, but most of these 
are characterized by original traits. They are strongly dolichocephalic (on 
several the index is as low as 60), and the face is narrow and long, the orbits 
high, which distinguishes this type clearly from the Cromagnon. The closest 
analogies are found in Kenya; the author believes these skeletons to be Paleo- 
mediterranean. The questions dealing with the genetic relationships of this 
type with Cromagnon are far from clear at present. 

Several other series of skulls found in different regions seem to belong to the 
Neolithic and the Bronze age. In the trans-Baikal region is found a Mongoloid 
type with a very flat face, but relatively low. The Mongoloid type is pre- 
dominant also in the region north of Lake Baikal, in the Irkoutsk region, but 
this time with a European admixture. 

Further to the west, starting with the region of Minoussinsk and Altai, the 
Europoid groups are predominant. Here it is interesting to note that the traits 
of the Cromagnons (large face, low orbits) are preserved during a long time in 
U.S.S.R. The average of the bizygometric diameter of twenty male skulls 
coming from the Neolithic necropolis of Vovnighi, in Ukraine, is 145 mm; 
the average of eight female skulls is 134 mm. The descendants of the Paleo- 
mediterraneans with a narrow face, discovered in the Mesolithic necropolis in 
Ukraine, are unknown in the Neolithic period of this region. Their predomin- 
ance in Mesolithic collections is apparently accidental. The Cromagnons of 
the Neolithic are genetically related not with the Paleomediterraneans of the 
Mesolithic but with the Cromagnons of the Paleolithic. The Cromagnon type 
is also characteristic of the Neolithic necropolis of Oleni Ostrov (on Lake 
Onega). But among these latter the face is slightly flatter, which makes one 
posit here the presence of some amount of Mongoloid admixture. 

Institute of Ethnography, U.S.S.R. 


Raymond Firth 

An historian friend of mine once jokingly remarked that British social anthro- 
pologists are like comets they blaze for a while across the sky with a, brilliant 
light and then fade out, leaving a trail of gas behind. But maybe this was only 
by contrast with the fixed and duller stars in the galaxy of historians. It is 
certainly not true of Radcliffe-Brown, whose light burned with increasing 
intensity for over thirty years. 

The death of Radcliffe-Brown a year ago has not in itself meant any marked 
change of direction hi our intellectual road, since trends not in conformity with 
his approach were already in evidence long before. But his passing does mark 
the end of an epoch in British social anthropology the period of recognition 
and establishment of the study as a discipline (if not a science) in its own right. 
His creative achievement in this is well known, but it is fitting that I should 
commemorate it here before this international gathering. 

The loss of this Olympian figure, inspiring both respect and affection, does 
have certain implications. In view of Fortes's recent appreciative sketch (1955), 
it may not be felt that an immediate systematic stock-taking of Radcliffe- 
Brown 's contribution to our subject is demanded generally. But more critical 
as well as eulogistic views are seeking expression. Even before his death one 
could perceive, among younger scholars who hardly knew him, a readiness to 
test his work in a neutral dispassionate spirit, to treat his principles such as 
the equivalence of siblings or the solidarity of the lineage group as heuristic 
tools but not necessarily as valid statements about a social reality. 

Then for the first time for over thirty years ever since Malinowski came to 
teach regularly in London British social anthropologists have become an 
acephalous society. We have lost in Radcliffe-Brown a head, a Founding 
Father, senior not only by a full generation but senior also in proven power 
of theoretical construction, as his recent Introduction to African Systems of 
Kinship and Marriage showed. Now seniority is divided among a group <rf varying 
age and different kinds of achievement and outlook. As social anthropologists 
we all share the same technique and immediate aims, and internal harmony 
is probably greater now than at any former period. But our conceptions of the 
scope and method of our discipline, and of the nature of the generalizations 
we can produce, do differ, as in particular does the language in "which we 
express them. These differences, now that Radcliffe-Brown has gone, may 
result in a diversification of our theoretical framework. There are signs that our 
various institutional emphases one cannot call them "schools" have 
resulted in a fruitful cross-fertilization which is likely to produce even more 
valuable work. But there may well be some change in balance, some more overt 
acknowledgement of alternative schemes of interpretation, now that Radcliffe- 
Brown can no longer serve in person as the classical standard of authority. 

Since we are relatively a small body not many more than 100 in our pro- 
fessional Association of Social Anthropologists another recent death may also 

38 Men and Cultures 

affect the trend of our work. In Radcliffe-Brown we have lost a systematist on 
a major scale. In Nadel we have lost the only one of our number who has as 
yet declared himself with a comparable breadth of system-making interest. 
An intellectual free-lance, blending in a skilful way the theoretical ingredients 
of sociology and social anthropology with a strong flavouring of philosophy, a 
trenchant critic yet a bold and constructive thinker with an insight into the 
middle-range of generalization, he has had a powerful influence. His un- 
timely loss may mean the absence, for the younger generation especially, 
of an important bridging influence and synoptic viewpoint of a systematic 

One further note on the subject of personnel. The intellectual strength of 
British social anthropology in the post-war years has been undoubtedly helped 
greatly by the expansion of research facilities and of teaching posts, in the 
United Kingdom and in the Commonwealth at large. Our teaching depart- 
ments and our research institutes are still very active. But the period of expan- 
sion is now for the most part at an end. Indeed, it is felt that there is grave 
need for systematic financial support, on a considerable scale, for British field 
research, the life-blood of its scholarship. But leaving this aside, the check in 
pace of recruitment, at a time when publication of results from the earlier 
research has attained a steady flow, is likely to usher in a period of stock-taking 
and consolidation. 

Linked to some extent with this halt in expansion has been the tapering off 
of an interesting and fruitful association, whereby in research and teaching 
posts young American scholars in Britain and the overseas Institutes have 
exposed themselves to the virus of our social anthropology and infected us 
with their own critical enthusiasms in return. Coupled with the frequent 
transatlantic academic visits, and the growing flood of American and European 
fieldwork abroad, this has made us in Britain feel that we share more than ever 
before a common set of problems and experiences in social anthropology with 
colleagues in many countries. 

But it is with the progress and results of scholarship rather than with its 
personnel and machinery that we are concerned here. 

In talking of trends in British social anthropology I must emphasize the 
continuity in studies of an orthodox structural type though perhaps in a 
rather looser frame than formerly. Studies of social alignment, of groups, 
relationships and roles, as component elements of an integral social system, still 
occupy a basic place in our work, with kinship and allied themes in a central 
position. This is only partly a legacy of our earlier enthusiasm for the discovery 
of structural analysis as an intellectual, even aesthetic, instrument. It rests on 
our conviction, upheld now by more varied experience, that this is one of the 
inescapable aspects of our definition of social phenomena. There is now perhaps 
a more overt stress too upon functional concepts once again, but not to the 
neglect of the structural key. 

Thematically, along these lines, there have been some developments. Con- 
centration upon lineage theory in the narrow sense has given way to interest 
in a broader range of variation, including the more amorphous field of cognatic 
(bilateral) systems. Interest in specifically local ties in small groups has grown; 
status characteristics and structures, and institutional types are receiving more 
attention. Examples of such neo-structuralism are: establishment of the concept 
of " perpetual kinship" as a symbolic expression of political ties in some systems; 
exploration of the theory of marriage stability; study of lines of tension in social 

Recent Trends in British Social Anthropology 39 

structure as revealed by witchcraft accusation ; analysis of the integrative value 
of conflict. 

Analysis has been extended from the simple, isolated, primitive, rural area 
to the diversified, contact-conscious, sophisticated, urban communities, in- 
cluding what may be termed nascent social systems. Studies of changing 
ideologies, of the clash and the coincidence of old and new elites, of the forma- 
tion of new occupational categories and class groupings, of the dynamics of 
caste organization, are coming to be common among us. 

Regionally, much of this work is still centred on Africa, with Southeast Asia 
and the Pacific in second place. But in common with the world-wide broadening 
of interest, India and the Middle East have been receiving more serious 
attention. A development of a rather special kind here has been research on 
communities of overseas expatriate Asiatics of Chinese in Malaya, Borneo 
and Hong Kong, and of Indians in Fiji, East Africa, Mauritius and the West 
Indies. A further broadening of our field base, in common also with trends 
among our colleagues in other countries, is seen in the growing amount of 
research done in our own Western type of society. Unlike some of our American 
colleagues, we do not yet regard ourselves as " committed " to the study of our 
own society ; we are still rather cautiously exploring our competence to analyse 
certain limited sectors of it. But we have already ranged from a Norwegian or 
a Cumberland parish to a London borough; from a housing estate to a coal 
mine, a printing works or an ethnic minority in dockland. We are aware that 
intensive studies of the structure and operations of small-scale communities or 
social aggregates need supplementation if they are to be significant for inter- 
pretation of the affairs of these communities or aggregates as sectors of larger 
national wholes. But we are becoming increasingly convinced of the value of 
such micro-sociological studies, even in highly industrialized urban conditions. 
Even the preoccupation with kinship, once thought to be an eccentricity in an 
urban industrial society, is coming to be recognized as a vital part of the 
anthropologist's contribution. We need not go so far as Nadel, in holding that 
its study may be one of the most important skills the anthropologist can bring 
to the study of modern societies. But in terms of theory, we can see how import- 
ant sections of British society the family of orientation plays a much more 
important part in moulding the family of procreation than was suspected. 
And, from a practical angle, we are coming to see how an understanding of 
the workings of kinship in a Western setting can throw light upon social prob- 
lems, as in the fields of education or of medicine. 

In all this, the study of societies in change is not necessarily a special field 
or branch of social inquiry but an essential part or dimension of it. The more 
our attention has been focused upon change, the more have we come to regard 
it as falling within our normal terms of reference. At the same time, this ten- 
dency to admit social change as an aspect rather than a subject ol study has 
posed certain theoretical problems for the conventional structural approach 
problems of integration, of equilibrium which we are only now beginning to 

Partly for this reason there has in recent years been some critical overhaul 
of past theories and conceptual frames. (One instance of this is a book by about 
a dozen of us, re-evaluating the contribution of Malinowski to social anthro- 
pology.) What Beattie (1955) in his useful review has seen as "an increased 
concern with anthropological theory and method with what social anthro- 
pologists are trying to do and should be trying to do' 1 has emerged in various 

40 Men and Cultures 

forms. In one form it has become manifest as a more conscious construction and 
use of models of social systems or part-systems a work in which we have 
derived much help from our colleague L6vi-Strauss. This is a salutary reminder 
in its stress upon the role of the anthropologist as artifex, not simple recorder. 
Yet such emphasis on his creative relation to his material may not be without 
its dangers if it fails to indicate how the model may be related to the human 
behaviour which our science purports to describe. But in the way it promotes 
exploration of alternative structures and their social implications, such model- 
making is beginning to do a valuable service in the study of social variation, its 
correlates and its limits. 

Linked with this, though at the empirical, not the abstract end of the institu- 
tional scale, is a sharpened interest in quantification. There is also a renewed 
attention to comparative method. Practised fairly rigorously by Radcliffe- 
Brown in the Social Organization of Australian Tribes (1930-31), its revivals in 
the various Africanist symposia have been parallel rather than strictly com- 
parable essays, as Schapera has pointed out. But recently narrow-range com- 
parisons of stricter type have been produced, including Nadel's examples on 
religion and witchcraft from his own field-work. 

Like model-making, such analyses demand the tranquillity and, even more, 
the literature, of the study. If R. H. Tawney told economic historians that they 
should get out on the ground more and see things for themselves that what 
they needed was not more books but stronger boots we now in British anthro- 
pology are beginning to murmur that what we need is more armchairs and 
fewer notebooks. These rumblings are to some extent contrariness. But they do 
indicate true feelings that the present richness of a decade of post-war field 
materials calls for a period of digestion. In such process leisure and reflection 
are important and here we are finding in our professional life that in an 
economist's terms, time is a scarce good. 

Another major trend is a more explicit concern with history or perhaps 
better, with the time dimension of our material. I think it is correct to say that 
at no time have British social anthropologists seriously meant to ignore history 
properly so-called. It may be that like the man to whom truth was such a 
precious thing that he used it very sparingly, we have respected history so much 
that we have refrained too much from applying to it. We may have been purist 
in our firm distinction between history and pseudo- or quasi-history. But 
most of us have used historical materials, i.e., documentation, fairly freely 
when we could get them; some of us find the work of historians very germane 
to our problems and welcome historians into anthropological collaboration. 
Schapera has become a socio-historian with his studies of Moffat and Living- 
stone; and Evans- Pritchard has even been prepared to throw the baby into the 
bath-water and argue that social anthropology after all is only a kind of writing 
of micro-history. But we have all insisted on maintaining the distinction between 
interpretation of materials from the actual past, and from the present or near- 
present. We have also stressed the necessity of a sociological, not merely 
chronological, interpretation of tradition. In conformity with our more con- 
scious interest in social change as part of ordinary process, with our increasing 
study of more sophisticated literate societies, with the greater accessibility of 
documents bearing on our problems and perhaps also, the greater approach- 
ability of historians a more definite place is made for history in our analyses, 
as, for example, by Barnes. We have even become less austere about the intro- 
duction of conjectural history into our accounts. But what concerns us primarily, 

Recent Trends in British Social Anthropology 41 

and what seems to us very important methodologically, is the way in which the 
form of the social system conditions the interpretation of history. In contra- 
distinction to what still sometimes occurs elsewhere, the British practice is to 
use the analysis of the contemporary society to elucidate the significance of its 
conjectural history rather than the reverse. 

Another trend in our work is a reappraisal of the nature of a social system as 
such, a task in which we are being helped by closer contact with sociologists. 
Earlier analyses stressed its integration, its tendency to equilibrium, and, 
without specific admission of this, implied the dominance of the system as such 
over all individual choice. This view was not equally shared by all British social 
anthropologists, though the reaction against it took different forms. Recently, 
dissatisfaction with the rigidities of a purely structural approach, and recog- 
nition of the primarily static character of the integration concepts as hitherto 
expounded, have become more general. There has been insistence on the 
essential lack of integration evident in some social systems, on the lack of 
agreed social aims, on their structural inconsistencies, on the high degree of 
manipulation of the elements in the system by interested parties. There has also 
been more recognition of the need to allow for the social implications of alter- 
natives in action and the operation of choices. The treatment tends to be rather 
in terms of open than of closed systems. The emergence of alternative structures 
is not ruled out. Whether or not this operational field is labelled ''social 
organization," as I would term it, is a matter of convenience and largely 
verbal. What is significant is that it is a field that is rapidly being enlarged 
as people come to see its relevance for dynamic studies, whether in the constitu- 
tion of descent groups, the workings of an authority system, or the application 
of a body of law. 

If we cross-cut now in terms of the "functional" divisions of our subject- 
matter, we see economic anthropology, still the Cinderella of the group, 
attracting rather more attention; a stronger focus on political anthropology; 
and a select but highly sophisticated interest in legal anthropology, starred by 
Gluckman's recent study of judicial process among the Barotse. A trend of 
particular interest is the development in studies of ritual and religion, a develop- 
ment not without personal overtones of more than one kind, but likely to lead 
to a much better appreciation of the significance of symbolic behaviour in 
social action. Parallel with this is an increasing interest in the study of ideas 
and beliefs for their own sake, not simply as reflections of social structures. To 
some degree, though in another setting and with other terminology, this is an 
expression of interests which have emerged elsewhere in terms of "world- 
view" or "value" studies. 

Finally, a few words about applied anthropology. Some British anthropolo- 
gists, particularly those associated with the Research Institutes, tend to work 
fairly closely with governments in the overseas territories, and a few have 
specific posts in the administration. The task of such collaboration is made 
somewhat easier with the open committal of many British overseas territories 
to self-government. But the essential problems of working towards raising levels 
of living, and towards a more efficient local organization of public affairs 
remain much as before. Applied anthropology is a complex notion, with many 
gradings of commitment and clusters of interest. 

In quite another field, there have recently emerged more conscious attempts 
to promote social anthropology as a cultural subject of more than professional 
interest. On the one hand, British social anthropologists have been encouraged 

42 Men and Cultures 

by the BBC radio to put forward both regional and theoretical materials from 
their study as matters of general significance for any educated audience. On 
the other hand, such materials have also been offered to specialists in other 
fields as Gluckman offered his work on the Barotse to lawyers, and as a number 
of studies in Britain are offering to medical men, or to industrialists, relevant 
background information bearing on their special problems. Some of these 
developments are promising. In conformity with our British tradition of 
scientific caution, we offer the information from these background studies not 
necessarily to solve problems directly, but to help others to understand better 
the nature of their problems. Some of us may regard this as one of the most 
important contributions our science can make to society. 
University of London, 
London, England 


Gutorm Gjessing 

It is a very obvious fact that my task this evening is an absolutely impossible 
one, that it cannot be solved in a short Congress paper at all; thus the simpli- 
fication necessarily will have to be brutally overdone. For the ethnic differences 
and contrasts so clearly visible in Europe today are, indeed, so old that they 
vanish only in an undefinable past, and even in prehistoric research various, 
more or less contending schools and lines of thought with different foci of 
interest predominate in different countries. Consequently any such survey will 
not only be hopelessly incomplete, but also subjective in so far that the relative 
importance of new discoveries and trends will depend on the particular interests 
of the individual scholar and on which part of Europe he happens to come from. 
Perhaps it may also be timely to mention that in the following sketch "archae- 
ology" will be conceived of in the sense of the French prehistoire, thus exclusive 
of the later periods of the Iron Age. 

Now, to those particularly interested in cultural origins and in tracing man's 
existence in their part of Europe as far back in remote times as possible, the 
big event has doubtless been the establishment of unquestionable evidence of 
the presence of inter-glacial man in northern Europe. In 1955 the Danish 
osteologist Ulrik Mohl-Hansen published his investigations on animal bones 
from inter-glacial deposits in Jutland in which he discovered typical marrow- 
split bones of fallow deer in a faunistic environment of Merck's Rhinoceros, 
Dicerorhinus kirchbergensis, Megaleceros giganteus, Steppe Bison, Bison priscus, etc. 2 
Later on, Erik Westerby found a flake of flint in Kolding, Jutland, probably 
from Upper Palaeolithic times. 3 Moreover, A. Rust, the discoverer of the 
Meiendorf and Stellmoor stages of the Hamburg culture, recently claimed to 
have discovered remains of inter-glacial man in northern Germany, close to 
the Danish border, as well. 4 Yet, in any case, Mr. Mohl-Hansen's findings seem 
perfectly convincing, and corroborate earlier guesses by, i.a. y the Dane Hartz 
with whom inter-glacial man was almost an idee fixe , by the Norwegian botanist 
Rolf Nordhagen who in 1933 on geo-botanical grounds tried to argue for the 
bold idea of man having survived in Finnmark in northernmost Norway from 
interglacial times. 6 Dr. Rust, however, has also offered us another sensation, 
implements of quartzite and sandstone from the same site and the same strata 
where Homo heidelbergensis was found almost fifty years ago. 6 

The study of palaeolithic cultures has, on the whole, been intensively con- 
ducted over most parts of Europe. Thus the first "Five-Year Plan of Hungarian 
Archaeology" for the years 1950-54 proposed as its first point "the exploration 
of the caves in the Hungarian central chains of mountains; the discovery of the 
earliest traces of man, and the stratigraphical authentication of the observations 
made so far, and in connection with this the elucidation of chronology of the 
Upper Palaeolithic Era." 7 I have not had the opportunity to ascertain whether 
or not this five-year plan has been fulfilled, but the first year's explorations in 
the caves of the Biikk Mountains were claimed to have helped in determining 
the characteristics of Middle Aurignacian. 8 

The achievements of European palaeolithic studies have, however, been very 

44 Men and Cultures 

aptly summarized by Hallam L. Movius both in the bibliographies of the 
Peabody Museum 9 of Harvard University and in the volume Anthropology 
Today. 1 Nevertheless the literature, even after his publication, has been very 
comprehensive, not least in France, the classical crad e of palaeolithic studies, 
in part dealing with the possible correlation between Quaternary phenomena 
and the palaeolithic industry, in part extending the studies to aspects such as 
religion and, of course, art and indeed even language and social relations. 
Applying the quantitative method of linguistics, A. Gailleux claims to have 
reached as far back as the Upper Palaeolithic period. 11 

German palaeolithic research seems still to be concerned chiefly with taxo- 
nomic and distributional studies partly influenced by the "Kulturkreislehre" 
and its derivate, the chorological method as formulated particularly by K. H. 
Jacob-Friesen in 1928. 12 It is very significant that the most recent (1954) 
German survey of European palaeolithic archaeology by Karl J. Narr has been 
titled "Formengruppen und Kulturkreise im europaischen Palaolithikum." 13 
In Czechoslovakia, on the other hand, one is more interested in intensive 
explorations of total situations aiming at research on local, palaeolithic com- 
munities. As phrased by Bohuslav Klima: "Thus . . . Czechoslovak archae- 
ologists are beginning to show that the great palaeolithic loess sites were more 
than temporary encampments, but were considerable settlements with the 
oldest-known buildings of man, inhabited by a numerous society over a long 
period." 14 Among other things Dr. Klima has published excavations at the 
Upper-Palaeolithic settlement on Pavlov Hills near Dolni Vestonice in Moravia 
which provide the first known palaeolithic huts outside the Soviet Union (such 
as those at Kostienki, Pushkari and some other places). Whereas one of the 
Pavlov huts was an ordinary dwelling, another one, according to Dr. Klima, 
represented "the dtelier where the famous clay animal figures were fired, and 
where their maker, the medicine-man or shaman of the hunters, may also have 
lived." 15 The excavations have not been finished in 1954, and the aim of future 
research would, according to Dr. Klima, be "to concentrate primarily on the 
elucidation of the general plan of the settlement, and of the relationship between 
the various buildings ; in other words to study the problems leading to a clearer 
understanding of the structure, social and economic, of the society which 
inhabited southern Moravia twenty-five thousand years ago." 16 

Here Czechoslovak archaeologists are completely in conformity with a 
marked trend in the archaeology of northwestern Europe, most markedly 
represented in Great Britain and Denmark, where the words "economy" and 
"community" increasingly often occur in archaeological books and papers, 
the latter one often replacing the term "culture"; as phrased by Gordon 
Childe, the cultures defined by archaeologists "represent societies or phases in 
the development of societies." 17 This again means an increasing interest in 
what could be termed "socio-archaeology," only that some, perhaps even 
most, archaeologists find the study of economic systems based upon a close 
scrutiny of the ecological environment to be a necessary inquiry in order to 
attain valid reconstructions of the social systems of prehistoric communities. 

This trend implies less stress to be put upon what Walter Taylor called 
" taxonomic rosettes " 18 and also upon far-flung comparisons between individual 
types of artifacts as against a deeper and more intensified study of archae- 
ological situations, leading also to a renewed interest in the problem of migra- 
tions supplementing the traditional study of diffusion. 19 This whole trend has 
led to elaborations and refinement of the techniques of excavation as well. 

Trends in European Prehistory 45 

Moreover it implies close collaboration with other fields of study, such as 
human geography and ecology, pollen analysis, botany, zoology, and also with 
various branches of anthropology. Thus Grahame Clark and others have 
stressed the importance of folk-culture for European prehistory, 20 the fruit- 
fulness of which, by the way, was beautifully demonstrated by the Nor- 
wegian A. W. Brogger as early as 1925. 21 Gordon Childe, on the other hand, 
to a certain extent following Marxist archaeologists, has amply shown the 
fruitfulness of drawing on the results of social anthropology. 

The most conspicuous results so far have been an extremely thorough study 
of prehistoric agriculture initiated by Osbert Crawford's introduction of air 
photography in British archaeological research in 1922, by which he discovered 
traces of cultivated fields of types obviously of prehistoric origin. 22 The better 
definition of these types was made in Denmark in the course of the 1930's 
through the excellent excavations of Gudmund Hatt, and in Britain not least 
through the work of E. Cecil Curwen. Of paramount importance was the 
Danish pollen-analyst Johs. Iversen's 1941 study, "Land Occupation in Den- 
mark's Stone Age," 23 showing that a microscopic examination of the con- 
temporary peat suggests that the forest clearings were made by burning the 
trees, and also that, then as now, weeds like mugwort, sorrel and plantain 
gave trouble to the farmer. The suddenness with which these clearings appeared 
in the pollen diagrams definitely suggested a concerted immigration of agri- 
culturists. Later studies conclusively demonstrating that these immigrants were 
not the first agriculturists in Denmark but represented the later immigration of 
"battle-axe peoples" have put considerable emphasis upon the problems of 
the earliest introduction of agriculture in Denmark. Agreement seems to have 
been reached upon the "megalithic culture" being no adequate term, since 
the culture is basically more or less identical with the Central European 
"funnel-necked beaker" culture, whereas the megalithic tombs represent a 
later addition. As Stuart Piggott says in his broad discussion of British neo- 
lithic cultures: "To define a local culture in terms of its chambered tombs may 
be no more than indicating the boundaries of a sect." 24 

The most radical view so far is that of Troels-Smith, claiming that agri- 
culture and cattle-breeding were integral elements in the Campignien-like, 
classical Ertebolle culture, the Erteb011e people thus being semi-farmers sub- 
sisting on hunting, fishing, gathering, and cattle-breeding as well as on culti- 
vating small areas. 25 Thus the occupational culture of the Ertebolle people 
should have agreed in principle with that of the inhabitants of the early Swiss 
pile dwellings (Michelsberg and earliest Cortaillod), who, according to recent 
studies by E. Vogt, W. U. Guyan, J. Speck, Troels-Smith and others, grew 
grain and had domestic animals, but who nevertheless lived largely by hunting, 
fishing, and gathering of wild plants. 26 

Now, to return to the cultivated fields, a close study of their shape and 
dimensions has produced extremely interesting results. In part the form of the 
plots suggests the implements that were used in tilling them, since a plot 
cultivated with digging sticks or hoes would be shaped differently from one 
tilled by means of a spade or a crook plow, while these latter would be shaped 
differently than fields cultivated by means of plows turning the furrows in such 
a way that the cross-plowing of the spade-plow would not be necessary. The 
various types of fields can be dated by means of grave mounds and other pre- 
historic remains placed upon them, thus providing a terminus ante quern. In this 
way Poul Kjaerum recently gave conclusive evidence for plows having already 

46 Men and Cultures 

been used in Denmark in Middle Neolithic times, and P. J. R. Moddermann 
has published an account of neolithic cultivated fields associated with long 
houses of "band-ceramic" type in the loess area in Holland. 27 

Yet, as already mentioned, one of the chief characteristics of modern archae- 
ology in northwestern Europe is the study of complex situations, and a com- 
bined study of cultivated fields, house ruins, fences, etc., has produced results 
of a much broader scope than this. Grahame Clark pointed out that in pre- 
historic times western Europe was almost entirely covered with forest and 
scrub, 28 consequently grasslands must have been very limited and largely the 
result of human tree-felling. The cultivated fields naturally lay around the 
homesteads, and it is accordingly possible to ascertain whether the people 
lived in separated farms or in villages. Moreover and now I feel inclined to 
transcend the limits of the prehistoire, and for a moment to enter into the proto- 
histoire or Fruhgeschichte the types of implements used may also suggest the 
stratification of society, as has been brought out clearly in Great Britain after 
the coming of the Angles and Saxons who brought with them the heavy, 
wheeled plow drawn by a team of at least four, but most often eight, oxen. A 
study of the English open-field system as it existed in the Middle Ages has 
shown that the Anglo-Saxon agriculture was possible only through cooperation 
since one peasant owned the plow, another one ox, a third one another ox, and 
so on. And in any event by the time of the Domesday Survey in 1086 the 
manorial system was firmly established. 

I mention these British and Danish studies which have been aptly summarized 
by E. Cecil Curwen in his and Gudmund Hatt's book, Plough and Pasture, 
1954^ because they clearly demonstrate that even research on agricultural 
techniques ultimately aims at determining the social systems. Yet it would be 
extremely unfair to believe that this trend is limited to Danish and British 
archaeology. In my own country, for instance, archaeologists are struggling 
with precisely the same problems, although the interest has here so far been 
more strongly focused on the social situation in the later Iron Age periods; 
thus the results fall outside the scope of the present survey. 

The most comprehensive exposition of this trend, however, is to be found in 
Grahame Clark's big volume Prehistoric Europe: The Economic Basis, 1952, dealing 
not only with farming communities but with the whole range of systems 
of economic activities found in prehistoric Europe, and it is highly suggestive 
that the title of its first chapter reads : " Ecological Zones and Economic Stages. " 
With the author's intimate knowledge of the archaeological material of all 
Europe, Clark has here made a really outstanding contribution. 

Gordon Childe, perhaps the most versatile and learned archaeologist in all 
Europe today, recently has attacked the social aspects of prehistoric com- 
munities in a more direct way. His book Social Evolution is a most intriguing 
attempt to reconstruct the transformation of social systems through the ages. 
Although there is certainly room for considerable disagreement on many points, 
his book nevertheless shows clearly the fruitfulness of a functional and theoretical 
sociological approach to prehistoric problems. As far as the "Arctic Stone Age" 
of north Norway is concerned in an article "Prehistoric Social Groups in North 
Norway," which is still unpublished, I myself tried to combine archaeological 
results with ecological conditions and general social anthropological theory, 
and came to some interesting results. The population was organized in semi- 
nomadic, unstratified groups settled in villages of from a dozen to about thirty 
households. The groups most probably were clanless and unstable as far as 

Trends in European Prehistory 47 

the residents were concerned, with bilateral descent and households of one 
hunter and approximately three other persons. The political organization was 
extremely weak if existing at all. 30 Similar investigations should also be possible 
as far as agricultural communities are concerned. 

Now, the trends mentioned here seem by and large to be confined to 
western and northwestern Europe and to the communistic parts of the Conti- 
nent where they appear in a theoretically divergent disguise. On the rest of 
the Continent and in eastern Fenno-Scandia archaeology to a greater extent 
seems to be concerned with taxonomy, problems of diffusion, and with ethnic 
questions. Even here very important results have been achieved. 

In Germany, as I have already mentioned, chorological methods are highly 
regarded. This, of course, being no novelty per se, is nevertheless a character- 
istic feature of post-war German study of prehistory and Friihgeschichte, so 
much so that in 1950 even a specialized journal devoted to chorological archae- 
ology, Archaeologica Geographic^ with Hans Jurgen Eggers as editor, was started 
with the ambitious aim of providing material for a comprehensive prehistoric 
atlas covering all Europe, and with M.-E. Mari'en as editor. 

Time has permitted me only to sketch the European situation with very few 
strokes. The picture thus given is, of course, extremely inadequate, all the 
shadings and quite a few important features of the archaeological landscape 
having had to be omitted; various European archaeologists certainly would 
find the picture closer to reality if quite different lines were drawn. This is 
inevitable. What I have tried to do and the only thing I could do has been 
to draw attention to some aspects which I personally find to be important. 

Oslo, Norway. 


1. I am greatly indebted to my friends Dr. Anders Hagen (Universitetets Oldsak- 
samling, Oslo) and Prof. G. J. Becker (University of Copenhagen) for valuable assistance 
in selecting relevant literature. 

2. U. M0hl-Hansen : "Foste sikre spor af mannesker fra interglacialtid i Danmark," 
Aarbegerfor nor disk Oldkyndighed, pp. 101-126 (summary in English), 1954. 

3. C. J. Becker: " Istidsmennesker i Danmark," Berlingske Aftenavis* Kronik, Jan. 3, 
1956 (Copenhagen). 

4. Becker: loc. cit. 

5. JV. Hartz: "Bidrag til Danmarks tertiaere og diluviale Flora,** Danmarks Geologiske 
Unders0gelse, 2. Raekke, Nr. 20 (summary in English), 1909. R. Nordhagen: De senkvartcsre 
klimavekslinger i Nord-Europa og deres betydningfor kulturforskningen, Oslo, 1933. 

6. A. Rust: Artefakte aus der %eit des Homo heidelbergensis in Sud- und Nord-Deutschland, 
Bonn, 1956. 

7. F. Fulep: "The Five- Year Plan for Hungarian Archaeology," Ada Archaeologica 
(Budapest): 10-14, 1951. 

8. F. Fulep: "The Results of Hungarian Archaeological Research in 1950,*' Ibid., 
pp. 325-326. 

9. H. L. Movius: Recent Publications Mainly in Old World Palaeolithic Archaeology and 
Palaeo- Anthropology, American School of Prehistoric Research. Old World Bibliography, 
Nos. 1-5 (Mimeographed), 1948-1953. 

10. H. L. Movius: "Old World Prehistory,** Anthropology Today, ed. A. L. Kroeber, 
pp. 163-174, 1953. 

11. R. Lantier: "Recherches publiees en 1953,** Gallia, 13 : (2) : 228-245, Paris, 

48 Men and Cultures 

12. K. H. Jacob-Friesen : Grundfragen der Urgeschichtsforschung, pp. UQet seq, Hannover, 

13. 34. Bericht der Romisch-Germanischen Kommission 1951-53 (Berlin), pp. 1-40. In 
his most recent publication, his contribution to the Wenner-Gren symposium on 
Man's Role in Changing the Face of the Earth, (ed. by William L. Thomas) 1956, however, 
Dr. Narr has taken a decidedly ecological point of view. 

14. B. KUma: "Palaeolithic Huts at Dolni Vestonice, Czechoslovakia," Antiquity 
(London), 28 : 14, 1954. 

15. KUma: loc. cit., p. 14. The somewhat hypothetical huts published by A. Rust are 
mesolithic, whereas a couple of still more hypothetical tent-sites by Rust have been dated 
to Magdalenian, vide A. Rust in Festschrift fur Gustav Schwantes, ed. Karl Kersten, p. 56, 
Figs. 4-7, Neumunster, 1951. 

16. Klima: loc. cit. 

17. V. G. Childe: Social Evolution, p. 17. London, 1951. 

18. W. Taylor: A Study in Archaeology, American Anthropologist, Memoirs, No. 69, 

19. V. G. Childe: Prehistoric Migrations in Europe, Oslo, 1950. JV.-G. Gejvall, C.-A. 
Moberg, and G. Gjessing: "Vittnesbord om folkvandringar," Fornvdnnen 1955, h.l, 

20. J. G. D. Clark: "Folk-Culture and the Study of European Prehistory," Aspects of 
Archaeology in Britain and Beyond: Essays Presented to O. G. S. Crawford, pp. 49-65. 
London, 1951. 

21. A. W. Br0gger: Det norskefolk i oldtiden, Oslo, 1925. 

22. Air photography, however, is much older, the first known being a photograph of 
Paris in 1858. The first known application of air photography to archaeology was made 
by the Germans in Turkey during World War I under command of Dr. Theodor Wiegand. 
Vide 0. G. S. Crawford: "A Century of Air-Photography," Antiquity (London), 28 : 7, 206. 

23. Danmarks Geologiske Under s0gelse II, Raekke Nr. 66. 

24. Stuart Piggott: Neolithic Cultures of the British Isles, p. 123. Cambridge, 1954. 

25. J. Troels-Smith: " Ertebollekultur-Bondekulture," Aarb0ger for nordisk Oldkyndighed 
1953 (summary in English). Among other important contributions to this whole prob- 
lem may be mentioned C. J. Becker: "Die mittel-neolithischen Kulturen in Siidskandina- 
vien," Acta Archaeologica, XXV, Copenhagen, 1955; Erik Hinsch: " Traktbegerkultur 
megalittkultur," Universitetets Oldsaksamlings Arbok (summary in French), Oslo, 1951- 
1953; and "Yngre steinalders stridsokskulturer i Norge," Universitetet i Bergen Arbok 
1954, Historisk-antikvarisk rekke Nr. 1 (summary in English). 

26. W. U. Guyan (Ed.): "Das Pfahlbauproblem," Monographien zur Ur- und Fruh- 
geschichte der Schweiz, XI. Basel, 1955. 

27. Poul Kjcerum: "Striber pa Kryds og Tvaers," Kumbl. Arbog for jysk ark&ologisk 
selskab (Arhus), pp. 18-24 (summary in English), 1954. P. J. R. Moddermann in Bericht 
van de Rijksdienst voor het Oudheidkund. Bodenondersoek, 1955. 

28. J. G. D. Clark: Prehistoric Europe: The Economic Basis, p. 92. London, 1952. 

29. New York, 1953. 

30. To be published in the Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society (Cambridge). 


Robert Heine-Geldern 

While preparing this lecture, it soon became evident that it was practically 
impossible to deal with the whole of Europe within the time limit set. Given 
the choice between general and therefore meaningless phrases about all the 
countries of Europe or saying at least a few more or less relevant things about 
some of them, I have decided for the second alternative. Therefore, I shall 
speak mainly about ethnological theory in central and northern Europe, with 
only a few side glances at that in other European countries. I hope that you 
will condone this deviation from the title of my paper. 

I must start with a post mortem, that of the Kulturkreis doctrine. This is the 
more necessary since it seems that its demise has not yet been fully realized in 
the United States. 

There is no need of repeating all the criticisms that have been levelled at the 
Kulturkreis theory. It will suffice to say that the final blow came from archae- 
ology. When Graebner, half a century ago, set up his Kulturkreise on the basis 
of an analysis of Oceanian and Australian cultures, the archaeology of these 
regions, as well as that of eastern and southeastern Asia, was practically non- 
existent. Today, even if we were willing to concede that his Kulturkreise ever 
existed in Oceania, archaeological evidence would still force us to recognize 
that these cultures were merely the results of the local intermixture of various 
ethnic and cultural waves which at different times came from Asia. It obviously 
would be senseless to search in other parts of the world for these same com- 
plexes of accidentally combined cultural traits. The attempt to use them as a 
basis for the cultural history of the whole of mankind was bound to lead into 

For us, in Vienna, it is rather embarrassing that the terms "Kulturkreis 
doctrine" and "Vienna School of Ethnology " are still widely considered as 
synonyms. Even in its heyday, when Father Schmidt taught at our University, 
the doctrine was never universally accepted in Vienna and was opposed and 
criticized by several local ethnologists, including myself. Today, it may still 
linger on among a few scholars who studied in Vienna in the 1920's or 1930's 
and who later lost contact with us, but I can assure you that it has not a single 
partisan left in Austria and, to my knowledge, one only in Germany* 

In order not to appear unjust, I wish to add that Father Schmidt and even 
more so Graebner have the real and lasting merit of having helped to extract 
European ethnology from the mire of obsolete pseudo-evolutionist and paral- 
lelist theories. 

One can safely say that today the vast majority of Italian, Central European, 
and Scandinavian ethnologists conceive of ethnology as of an essentially 
historical discipline. Even if they do not explicitly say so, history is more or less 
at the back of their minds. In England and in America it has repeatedly been 
said in recent years that historical reconstructions are admissible only as far as 
written documentary evidence is available, and that to go beyond that point is 

50 Men and Cultures 

useless and even unscientific. The majority of continental European ethnol- 
ogists do not consider this narrow interpretation of the term "history" as 
justified, and reject such a resigned attitude. It is generally felt that the possi- 
bilities offered by comparative research in combination with distributional 
studies, with archaeology, linguistics, and physical anthropology have not 
nearly been exhausted. We may or may not approve of the views expressed in 
such works as Levi-Strauss' Structures tUmentaires de la parent^ Koppers' Primitive 
Man and his World Picture, Jensen's various books, or Baumann's recent book on 
the role of bisexuality in myth and ritual. What matters more than their par- 
ticular conclusions is the fact that such books are still being written. It proves 
that the spirit of intellectual adventure is still very much alive and that on the 
old continent ethnology has not yet been affected by that paralyzing timidity 
or should we rather say by that somewhat too puritan sobriety? which seems 
to have struck some of our non-continental colleagues. 

It is a fortunate circumstance that in the part of Europe with which I am 
dealing ethnology is not at present dominated by any systematized school of 
thought with all the dangers this would imply, such as dogmatism, intolerance, 
and the creation of fixed terms and catchwords which can be repeated mechani- 
cally as a kind of ritual. Although history is explicitly or tacitly considered as 
the backbone of ethnology this does not entail any kind of one-sidedness. I 
doubt that in the whole region a single ethnologist could be found who would 
not gladly admit the justification and desirability of the sociological, function- 
alist, psychological, or other legitimate ways of approach, as long as the respec- 
tive schools do not claim the exclusive possession of the keys to the road to 

In this context it may not be without interest to say a few words about 
continental feeling with regard to British Social Anthropology, not in order to 
criticize the latter, but to use it as a foil which may help us to clarify the conti- 
nental attitude. Essentially, this feeling consists in a mixture of deep and very 
sincere admiration for the magnificent field-work and the theoretical achieve- 
ments of British social anthropologists and of an equally sincere regret concern- 
ing their self-imposed restrictions, their rejection of history now fortunately 
on the wane and the dogmatism of a few of their more orthodox members. 
If a continental ethnologist would venture to dissect culture and to regard social 
organization as a completely separate and independent entity, if he would 
by principle close his eyes to history, or if he would go so far as to speak con- 
temptuously of ethnology as I quote "an old-fashioned and spurious 
science of man," this would certainly be considered as an almost unthinkable 
heresy. To be sure, on the continent, too, there exists specialization. There 
are those who devote their researches to society, or economy, or religion, or 
technology. But whether they explicitly say so or not, in principle and this 
is the point that matters they consider their results as contributions toward 
an over-all concept of culture in all its aspects and ramifications. I may add 
that in general continental ethnologists will not admit that the British social 
anthropologists' methods are incompatible with their own predominantly 
historical approach. They feel rather that the two methods are complementary 
to one another. While they hail the growing awareness of British anthropolo- 
gists that in the long run they cannot do without history, they feel that they 
themselves have much to learn from their British colleagues. Today, the two 
schools do not seem to stand as far apart as was the case a few years ago. Some 
kind of eventual integration appears not quite inconceivable. 

Recent Developments in Ethnological Theory in Europe 51 

One Central European school of ethnological thought is of a sufficiently 
distinct character to deserve special mentioning. It is the one based on the 
concept of " Kulturmorphologie" a term as difficult to translate as that of 
" Kulturkreis" I shall not attempt to define it, not only because this would take 
too much time, but also because, if I see correctly, its meaning seems to have 
become somewhat fluid and to have changed considerably since the days of 
Frobenius and Spengler who first applied it. The most prominent representa- 
tive of the school in question is Professor Jensen in Frankfort. He stresses the 
irrational sources of culture and the primacy of mythological and religious 
concepts and rituals. His ideas have been compared to those of Ruth Benedict. 
There is indeed some kind of slight common denominator, although Jensen was 
certainly not influenced by Benedict's Patterns of Culture. Moreover, being 
deeply imbued with a sense for history, he is not content with defining the 
values concerned, but attempts to penetrate to their roots, to show how they 
originated and developed, and to trace their world-wide interrelations. Even 
those who, like myself, are not prepared to accept all of his conclusions will 
have to concede that his approach is a valuable complement to historical 
ethnology and that in certain respects it allows us a deeper insight into the 
true character of primitive peoples and cultures than mere sociological des- 
cription or functionalist analysis. Yet one cannot help feeling reminded of that 
collection of stimulating essays on African cosmologies by French, Belgian, 
British, and African scholars which Daryll Forde edited two years ago under 
the title of African Worlds. The accent, it is true, is different. But here, too, 
the interrelation of social and political organization with cosmological and 
religious ideas is stressed. The differences between the various schools of 
ethnology are perhaps, after all, not as fundamental as might appear at first 

The historical orientation of most continental European ethnologists implies 
a strong interest in the dynamics of culture change. The necessity of studies on 
the acculturation of primitive tribes to western civilization is, of course, 
recognized, but from the purely scientific point of view less importance is 
attached to them than, for instance, in the United States. The great disparity of 
the respective cultures and the enormously powerful impact of western tech- 
nology and political organization mark that particular kind of acculturation 
as a unique and abnormal case of culture contact, the results of which can hardly 
be used for general conclusions. It is felt that it is rather the study of the 
acculturation of primitive tribes to one another or to archaic or oriental 
civilizations which can provide us with a stock, certainly not of fixed laws, but 
of empirical rules and probabilities that may help us to understand similar 
processes in the past. 

Although Father Schmidt was probably the first scholar to emphasize the 
importance of the study of the individual in primitive society, and although 
Koppers at an early date contributed a few sketches of the personal character 
of individual Fuegians, the subject has been sadly neglected in continental 
Europe, and there is nothing comparable to American research on personality 
and culture. In general, surprisingly little attention has been paid in Europe in 
recent years to psychological research among primitive peoples. As far as the 
German speaking countries are concerned this may in part be due to a reaction 
against Bastian's and his followers' rather naive psychological fads and against 
the oppressive bulk of Wundt's ten volume ethnic psychology. However, I wish 
to avail myself of this opportunity in order to bring to your attention a very 

52 Men and Cultures 

brief, but very important paper recently published in the Bulletin de 1'ficole 
Fran^aise d'Extreme-Orient, a paper which in my opinion gives us more really 
relevant psychological insight than we could expect from a hundred Rorschach 
tests. Its author, George Condominas, analyzes and compares two long epic 
poems of the Rade, a pagan tribe in the interior of Indo-China. One of these 
poems gives us the picture of a solidly established matrilineal society, controlled 
by supernatural forces. Its hero is dominated by women, particularly by his 
tyrannical sisters. The whole poem emphasizes the importance of strictly sub- 
mitting to the social laws, above all to those governing marriage, if one wishes 
to avoid disaster. On the contrary, the hero of the second poem is constantly in 
revolt against these laws, relies solely on his own force and cunning, disregards 
even the warning omens sent by the gods, and yet always triumphs. These 
opposite tendencies within one and the same tribal culture will perhaps remind 
you of the comparable ones which Malinowski observed among the Trobriand 
Islanders. I have little doubt that, if followed up, the line of research so 
happily initiated by Gondominas, the study of oral literature from the psycho- 
logical, sociological, and historical points of view, may yield most valuable 

Less than a year ago an American anthropologist, in the course of a seminar 
in this country, expressed his concern about the tendency to transform ethnology 
into what he called a "super-science" by including in it all kinds of alien 
subjects, such as community studies etc. It is obvious that this tendency, if it 
continues long enough, must finally lead to the disintegration of ethnology. 
The danger exists not only in America, where it seems to have originated, but 
also in Europe, and in passing through Paris recently I heard similar com- 
plaints. However, the threat is perhaps not as great as might appear at first 
sight. In reading the paper on the Netherlands in the Yearbook of Anthropology, 
for instance, you will find that a lot of space is devoted to all kinds of marginal 
subjects and activities which have hardly the remotest connection with anthro- 
pology, while ethnological research is very step-motherly put off with a few 
insignificant lines. One could almost get the impression that in Holland eth- 
nology is on the verge of expiring. Yet, if we look at the things as they really 
are, we shall see that in Holland orthodox ethnological work is on the upsurge, 
rather than on the decline. Maybe we should not take the spectacular parading 
of fashionable tendencies too seriously. Anthropologists are sometimes like 
children who enjoy displaying their new toys before visitors, but if left alone 
prefer to play their old games. 

Allow me to conclude with a few words pro domo. If, today, one can speak of 
a Vienna School of Ethnology, it is only in the sense that we are perhaps more 
consistently than others trying to perfect the methods of historical ethnology 
and to carry its principles through to their logical goal. However, we are also 
keeping our minds open to other ways of approach than that of history, and 
we are happy that we were able to send some of our best students to London in 
order to acquaint themselves with the methods of British social anthropologists. 
Nor do we in the least wish to sit in an ivory tower. I may mention the fact that 
some of our historically trained graduates have held UNESCO positions in 
applied anthropology and have done very well. I need not go further into 
details, since my colleague, Professor Haekel, has just published an excellent 
interpretation of our views and methods in the volume commemorating the 
25th anniversary of our Institute of Ethnology. 

I am painfully aware of the inadequacy of this very fragmentary report on 

Recent Developments in Ethnological Theory in Europe 53 

ethnological theory in Europe. I regret particularly that lack of time has 
prevented me from speaking about the current vigorous development of 
ethnology in France which constitutes a great hope for the future of our science. 
But the great diversity of French ethnological interests, as compared to the 
relative uniformity in the rest of continental Europe, would in itself have 
required a separate treatment. 



Huang Wen-Shan and Ho Lien-Kwei 

Ethnology, both in its historical and its cultural aspects, had an early develop- 
ment in China, dating as far back as over 3,000 years. However, its study 
falls mainly within the scope of history. Hence there was no systematic and 
scientific set-up in this particular field of research. It was not until Western 
ethnology or cultural anthropology transfused into China that a modern school 
in this line was conceived and born in a new environment. Briefly speaking, 
the developmental study of anthropological and ethnological sciences in China 
during the last forty years or so may be viewed in the following stages. 


At the end of the nineteenth century the chequered works of Bastian, Morgan, 
Tylor, and others had much influence on the Chinese intellectual circles. In 
response to this new current of thought, in 1903 the Manchu regime added 
anthropology and ethnology as courses of study in its college curriculum. Yet, 
it was not until after the establishment of the Chinese Republic in 1912 that 
these two subjects were actually included in China's educational system. 
Anthropological courses were given in the National Peking University in 1917, 
when Dr. Tsai Yuan-Pei, an eminent Chinese educator and scholar, became 
the Chancellor of the University. As an ethnologist himself, he taught aesthetics 
in the light of cultural theories. At the same time he advocated a theory that 
aesthetics may serve as a substitute for religious worship. In view of his position 
and prestige his theory had a great deal of influence upon the youths during 
the years of the "New Cultural Movement" in China. 


The progress of ethnological study, during the last forty years, may be 
judged from the following developments: 

A. With the establishment of the Academia Sinica in Nanking in the year 
1927, Dr. Tsai Yuan-Pei devoted a section of the Institute of Social Sciences to 
the study of ethnology. While he himself headed this section, his followers 
undertook field researches in the various areas in China. Such tribesmen or 
minorities as the Yao in Kwangsi Province, the High Mountain tribes in 
Taiwan (Formosa), the Goldi in Manchuria, the Miao in Hunan, and the 
Shemin in Chekiang were for the first time scientifically surveyed by the staff 
members of the said Institute. 

In its enthusiastic moments the Institute had also subsidized H. Stibel, a 
German professor at the Tungchi Medical University in Shanghai, and Liu 
Hsien of the Shangtung University, for the purpose of surveying in 1933, the 
Li tribesmen in Hainan Island. During the years 1935 to 1937 Ling Shunsheng, 

Recent Developments and Trends in Ethnological Studies in China 55 

Tao Yun-Kwei and Ruey Yih-Fu were despatched to Yunnan Province 
to enlist their combined efforts to the study of many an aboriginal tribe, such 
as the Yao, the Miao, the Lolo, the Mosa, the Pay-yi (Shan), the Laho, the 
Lisu, the Kachin, the Wa, etc. In the thick of such activities, F. Jaeger, 
another German scholar, arrived upon the scene to participate in the field 
work. Reports and monographs on their studies have been published. 

B. During the era of the Chinese intellectual renaissance or the period 
between 1917 to 1930 generally known as the "New Cultural Movement," 
the values of social and cultural sciences became acceptable all over the 
country. The prospect had a very promising look, as anthropological and 
ethnological courses were given in the National Sun-Yat-Sen University in 
Canton and the National Central University in Nanking. Famous anthro- 
pologists such as S. M. Shirokogoroff of Russia, Radcliffe-Brown of England, 
and Father W. Schmidt of Austria were invited to deliver lectures in the various 
universities in Peiping and Nanking during the years 1930 to 1935. An anthro- 
pological journal known as The Ethnological Research, edited by Huang Wen- 
Shan was published under the auspices of the Sun Yat Sen Institute for the 
Advancement of Education and Culture. 

For the promotion and propagation of anthropological and ethnological 
knowledge and study, the creation of the Chinese Ethnological Association in 
Nanking in the year 1 934 with an initial membership of forty was a remarkable 
phenomenon. As evidenced by the publications and works of the members of 
the Association during the last three decades, the development of ethnology 
has no doubt contributed a great deal to the understanding and interpreting 
of the Chinese people and their culture to the world. 

During the second world war almost all research institutes and universities 
were evacuated and removed either to the southwest provinces or to the north- 
western frontiers. Taking this extraordinary opportunity, the Chinese world 
suddenly became animated by scientific surveys on the Miao, the Lolo, and 
the Yao, with the result that we have quite a few monographs and a great 
number of articles on the study of their customs, languages and other ethnic 
characteristics. Some of the scholars penetrated far into Sikang, Tibet, and 
Kansu, while the others remained in Szechuan, Kweichow and Kwangsi to 
pursue their researches. The publication of the reports, on the whole, aroused 
a keen interest among the Chinese nation. 


By the end of 1949, with the emergence of the Chinese Communists on the 
mainland, anthropologists and ethnologists including Li Chi, Ling Shun-Sheng, 
Wei Hui-Lin, Ho Lien-Kwei and many others left the mainland of China to 
live in Taiwan. During the last few years, researchers of the Academia Sinica, 
the National Taiwan University, and the Provincial Archives Committee set 
forth to make a study of the aboriginal tribes in the Taichung mountainous 
regions. Reports on the Atayal, Tsou and Bunun were published. Among these, 
the works of Ho Lien-Kwei, especially "The Totem Culture and Remanint 
Totemism in the Mountainous Regions in Central Taiwan" together with 
"The Folklore and Customs of the Taiwan Native People," are no publications 
to be passed over lightly. Beside the so-called " Kao-shan " or " High Mountain " 
tribes, there are still other tribes scattered throughout the island, consisting of 
nine branches, namely, Atayal, Saisiat, Tsou, Bunun, Rukai, Paiwan, Puyma, 

56 Men and Cultures 

Ami and Yami, who have received their due share of ethnological study from 
ethnologists such as Chen Chi-Lu, Chen Shou-Hsin, etc. 


In theory and methodology, Chinese anthropologists and ethnologists 
followed the scholars of the West, and they could be described as the followers 
of the Historical, Evolutional, Neo-Evolutional and other schools. Yet the 
notable contribution and achievement of these ethnologists over the past three 
decades have entirely been ignored by the West. In the present summary, 
however, the following points might be mentioned. 

A. Ling Shun-Sheng has since 1949 held that the native tribes in Taiwan 
have preserved many characteristics of the ancient culture prevalent in south- 
east Asia. Basing his ethnological study on the mainland, he concluded that 
the so-called " barbarian tribes" known as "Wu" and "Viet" who had settled 
along the East China coast, in ancient times together with the "Po Liao" 
or "Pai-Po 55 in southwest China, were of the same stock as the Indonesian or 
so-called "Proto-Malay" now prevailing in southeast Asia. He thus treated 
this region as one culture area. In his treatise, "An Introduction to the Research 
of Ancient Culture in Southeast Asia," he divided this region into three sub- 
areas namely "continental" "peninsular" and "island." They correspond 
to the culture strata as labelled by distinction, "Sino-Tibetans," "Indonesian- 
Malay," and "Melanesian-Negrito." Hence, according to this theory, the 
so-called Culture of Central China is considered as a blend of the "Oriental 
Oceanic Culture" with the "Occidental Continental Culture," while the 
ancient civilization of southeast Asia represents the "Oceanic Culture" which 
formed the basic stratum of the Chinese culture. The new hypothesis may be 
a key to further studies which are likely to make promising contributions to this 

B. Fifty years of Japanese occupation of Taiwan resulted in the development 
of a scientific classification of the native people by Japanese scholars. However, 
by emphasizing merely ethnological study, there still was a lack of generalized 
cultural theories or principles in the analysis or comparison of the cultural 
aspect of the people. The recent arrival of Wei Hui-Lin, who has devoted a 
period of five years to this line, brought about some remarkable contributions. 
Some of his conclusions are : 

(a) With relation to the clan system, he found that all the five clannish 
tribes have been mainly emphasizing communal activities, with the exception 
of some matrilineal, clannish societies which had changed into the nominal 
pattern with more or less totemic traits. For instance, communal functions 
such as participating and hunting, funeral ceremonies, and property distribu- 
tion or inheritance are still executed according to clan units. On the clan 
theory he proved that both the patrilineal and matrilineal systems, which have 
different origins, had parallel developments without anterior or posterior 
stages one over the other. 

(b) With regard to the age grade system, he discovered that there are two 
basic patterns prevailing in the native societies. They are the Terminal System 
and Nominal System. The latter, however, develops more fully only in the 
matrilineal Ami society co-existing with the military organization of the men's 

Recent Developments and Trends in Ethnological Studies in China 57 

(c) In respect to the tribal organization and its chieftainship, he discovered 
the existence of four patterns called "pan-blood society," "clan society," 
"two-class society," and "dual structural society," still in vogue among 
different tribes on the island. The dual-leadership system has been necessary 
so as to keep a balance of power in harmony with natural supremacy and social 

C. Ruey Yih-Fu made new generalizations on the kinship system of the Miao 
tribe on the mainland and of the aborigines in Taiwan. First, he compared the 
Miao system with that of the Chinese proper, and made a further comparative 
study of it with that of the native tribes on the afore-mentioned island. 
The terminological identity of parents with their children is interpreted by 
him as due to two important formative factors: "Teknonymy" and "Tekei- 
nonymy" or "Reverse Teknonymy." From the comparative study of both 
ancient and modern Chinese kinship terminologies, he further discovered that 
the former corresponds to what Morgan termed the "Turanian Type" of the 
"Classification System," or the so-called D type of Kirchhoff, or bifurcate 
merging terminology of Lowie, while the latter corresponds to the "Descriptive 
System" or A type, or bifurcate-collateral terminology. Ruey also distinguished 
the ancient kinship system which refers to the exagamous clan organization, 
and the modern system which is connected most probably with "Gross- 

D. Huang Wen-Shan, who had studied anthropology under both Boas and 
Kroeber in the U.S.A., had published several important essays in this line of 
research since 1 934, two main themes of which were most outstanding. 

First, on the study of totem culture, which he considers as a culture system 
rather than as a religious or social system, he adopts ethnological methodology 
to explain the prehistoric totemism in China. In this research he came well 
nigh to the philosopher's stone which enabled him to solve the puzzles of an 
eminent scholar like Ku Che-Kiang. His successful study of some legendary 
and mythological history in the ancient history of China is known to all. 
Subsequently, anthropologists and sinologists, including the distinguished Ho 
Lien-Kwei, made diligent and penetrating researches into the totem system 
of different tribes as well as in the ancient history of China. While some noted 
anthropologists, such as Morgan, Tylor, Malinowski, and Boas, did not believe 
in the common existence of totem culture in China, their theses as such were 
then disproved by the general conclusion of these ethnologists who held that 
totem culture, though appearing in different forms and varying in different 
degrees in different cultural stages, did in fact exist in every corner of the globe. 
Today, totemism has become a subject of greater magnitude in the study of 
ethnology and ethnohistory. 

Second, Huang also promoted the adoption of the so-called " Culturology " 
or the Science of Culture as an independent discipline to include the study of 
cultural phenomena by the use of the cultural-historical method. Since 1934 
he has published several books in this field. In 1939 he issued also a book 
entitled "Collected Papers on Culturology," which was followed by another 
book, "Culturology and Its Place in the Domain of Social Science." It is 
remarkable that Leslie A. White, a most brilliant American anthropologist of 
the Neo-Evolutionist School, holds almost the same position in this respect, 
despite their differences in philosophical assumptions. 

On the whole, ethnology is not a mere theoretical science, but also an 
applied science. And the study of this subject has its academic value as well as 

58 Men and Cultures 

its practical utility. There is a significant trend in this field to apply the results 
of such a study to facilitate the solving of various concrete problems concerning 
the Chinese minorities and the overseas Chinese. 

Finally, the support of ethnological research by the Chinese government 
and the various institutes has greatly extended the influence of this science and 
stimulated all sorts of intellectual activity. In the course of its thirty years of 
existence, the Chinese Ethnological Association for the Promotion of Ethno- 
logical Knowledge is now more than ever living up to its name and purpose. 

New School for Social Research, 
New Tork,N.T. 


/. /. Potekhin 

In my short communication I would like to acquaint the members of the 
Congress with the state of ethnographical science in the U.S.S.R., and with 
the main trends of ethnographical investigations. I am very grateful to the 
Programme Committee, and particularly to its chairman Mr. Herskovits for 
the opportunity they afforded me. Due to some reasons, relations with our 
foreign colleagues in the last decades have become less intensive, and hence 
their information on ethnographical science in the U.S.S.R. was insufficient, 
which promoted the dissemination of a number of wrong notions. I hope that 
my information will contribute to that mutual understanding which is so 
necessary for scientific collaboration. 

Ethnographical science in the U.S.S.R. is not essentially different from the 
ethnographical science of any other country as far as its tasks and its problems 
are concerned. As in any other country, the ethnographers of the U.S.S.R. are 
engaged in studying the culture and the mode of life of the peoples, their 
origin, their dispersion and present habitat, their cultural-historical bonds and 

However, it is useless to make a secret of the fact that in the questions of 
theory we have some disagreements with some of our colleagues from other 
countries. This disagreement sometimes gives rise to a very acute struggle of 
opinions, which however should not serve as an obstacle for scientific collabora- 
tion. On the contrary, the struggle of opinions is an obligatory condition for the 
development of scientific thought. 

The main object of ethnography always was, and remains now, the con- 
temporary peoples and the phenomena of popular life immediately observed 
by an investigator. Therefore, in our country, as in all other countries, the 
central place in the work of the ethnographical institutions is occupied by 
investigations of the contemporary culture and the mode of life of the peoples. 

The Soviet Union, as is well known, is a multinational country. Each people 
has its own characteristic features, its own culture and mode of life. The pro- 
found social changes that took place in our country have not eliminated the 
national specificity of the peoples. Socialist culture, being unitary in content, is 
developing in very peculiar forms, inherent to each separate people. 

In connection with this, a great and responsible task confronts the ethno- 
graphers: to investigate how the socialist transformations, unitary 'in their 
nature, are embodied in the various national forms, how old forms are filled 
with new content, how these old forms are developed, adapting themselves to 
the new content. This is a very profound and complicated process, full of acute 
contradictions, conflicts, and intense struggle between the new and the old. 
Besides its scientific significance, the study of this process is also of great practical 

Such kind of investigations began immediately after the establishment of 
Soviet power. They were of great practical use in the creation of our multi- 

60 Men and Cultures 

national state, and in the elaboration of concrete measures directed towards 
bringing into life the national policy of the Soviet government. 

It is known that at the moment of establishment of Soviet power the peoples 
of our country were at different stages of development. The peoples of the 
extreme north, for example, were at the stage of decline of primitive communal 
society and gradual transformation into a class society. Amongst the peoples of 
Middle Asia feudal relations were predominant, but they were in a very com- 
plicated intercombijiation with patriarchal clan relations. Survivals of the 
primitive communal society and feudalism were more or less strong among 
many other peoples of our country. Therefore, the attention of the ethno- 
graphers was, naturally, concentrated on the study of these survivals. They had 
to give an answer to the question of how to integrate the backward peoples in 
the common process of socialist construction, what the attitude of the Soviet 
government should be to survivals of the primitive communal society, etc. 

In connection with the victory of socialism the field of activity of ethno- 
graphers has changed. Socialism became a mode of life; the new was victorious, 
the old was left behind. The ethnographers accordingly had to reconstruct their 
work: instead of investigations of the old way of life, which had already dis- 
appeared, they had to study the new way of life, the socialist mode of life. 

This does not mean, of course, that ethnographers ceased their study of 
survivals. These are still alive in the new society, and this new cannot be under- 
stood without a study of the survivals. The survivals should also be studied for 
better understanding of the past. However, attention is now mostly concen- 
trated on the study of the new mode of life. 

The reconstruction of ethnographical research, which began on the eve of 
the second world war and was carried on intensively during the last decade, 
was conducted in an atmosphere of acute struggle of opinions. The disputes 
developed in two main directions. First, it was disputed whether ethnographers 
should study the socialist mode of life of the peoples and whether they are able 
to do it. A certain group of ethnographers and archaeologists defended the 
standpoint that ethnography is a science of the primitive-communal society 
and of its survivals in contemporary life, that ethnographers, therefore, cannot 
and should not study the contemporary socialist society. Other ethnographers 
considered that ethnography should study the culture and the mode of life of 
peoples at all the stages of their historical development from ancient times to 
our days. The second standpoint gained the victory. 

Another direction of the disputes which is less in principle was how to study 
the socialist mode of life of the peoples, how to delimit the field of ethnographic 
investigations from those of economists, historians, and representatives of the 
other humanities which also deal with studies of contemporary life, and how to 
conserve in this case the specific character of ethnographic science. 

This question is still being disputed. And this is quite natural. Ethnographical 
study of a socialist society is a completely new thing, just as new as socialist 
society itself. Until recent times ethnographers had no experience in such 
investigations. The old programmes of collection of field material were of no 
use; it was necessary to create new programmes. And in conformity with the 
new programmes it was also necessary to change the methods of collecting of 
field material and to reorganize field work. But the most difficult task was the 
generalization of new field materials, the elaboration and formulation of 
principles in the development of ethnographic phenomena under the new 
conditions, under the conditions of socialism. 

Current Trends in Ethnography in the U.S.S.R. 61 

At the present time the study of socialist culture and the new mode of life 
of the peoples of the U.S.S.R. occupies the main place in the work of all the 
ethnographic institutions in our country. 

The enlargement of the field of ethnographic research, the inclusion of new 
topics in the programme of ethnographical works, roused a significant revival of 
interest in this branch of science. 

In recent years many ethnographic institutions were created in those Union 
and Autonomous Republics where ethnography was never studied before. It is 
a very gratifying circumstance that the number of young scientist-ethno- 
graphers among previously backward peoples (Khakasses, Yakuts, Altaians, 
Chuvashes and many others) increased. Their ethnographical studies of their 
own peoples are great contributions to science. 

The field works embrace now almost all the peoples of the U.S.S.R. The 
expeditions sent only by the Ethnographical Institute of the Academy of 
Sciences of the U.S.S.R. work in Russia, in Middle Asia, the Baltic Republics, 
Siberia, the Volga River area, and the North Caucasus. Materials on such 
questions as the family and family relations, housing, clothes, food, applied 
art, spiritual culture, etc., are collected on a large scale. Many facts already 
accumulated by the expeditions show how complicated are the processes taking 
place in the life of the peoples. 

The efforts of ethnographers were until now concentrated mainly on the 
study of peasant life. This is a more usual sphere for ethnographers. But we 
think it impossible to limit ourselves only to the study of the peasantry. Due to 
the policy of industrialization there took place a great transfer of population 
from country to towns and industrial centres. Urban population now con- 
stitutes 43 per cent of the whole population of the country. In this connection 
the ethnographical study of the working class is of great scientific interest. 
But here the Soviet ethnographers are still only at the stage of first experiment. 
In the near future this branch of ethnographical science should take its proper 

Ethnography is a historical science. The ethnographical phenomena of our 
days cannot be understood without a study of the history of their origin and 
development. Therefore our ethnographers, naturally, do not limit themselves 
only to a study of contemporary life. The whole history of a given people from 
the moment of its appearance on the ethnographic map to our days is of interest 
for ethnographers. Therefore historical ethnography occupies an important 
place in the work of Soviet ethnographers. In recent years several monographs 
whicli contain the history of their culture and modes of life in different historical 
periods were published on some peoples. Together with historians, ethno- 
graphers elaborate general text-books on the history of various peoples of the 

An important place in the work of our ethnographic institutions is occupied 
by studies on ethnogenesis, the origin of peoples. In elaboration of these diffi- 
cult problems the collaboration of scientists of different specialities, ethno- 
graphers, anthropologists, archaeologists and linguists, is practised on a wide 
scale. Special complex expeditions are organized, such as, for example, the 
Kirghiz complex expedition which worked under the guidance of Professor 
Debetz, who is present here; it has already finished its work and the results of 
its investigations will be published in three volumes in the near future. 

The main efforts of Soviet ethnographers are, naturally, directed to the 
study of ethnography of the peoples of our country. Considerably less attention 

62 Men and Cultures 

is devoted to ethnography of the peoples of foreign countries. Only in recent 
years has there taken place a certain revival in this branch of Soviet ethno- 
graphic science. This revival was caused by the preparation for publication of 
a series of ethnographic essays under the general title of "The Peoples of the 
World." This will be a large fundamental work consisting of fifteen volumes. 

The task of this publication is to draw up a single ethnographic picture of 
the globe, to show the mode of life of all the peoples, and, if possible, of each 
people, and its contribution to the general depository of world culture. For the 
time being only one volume, "The Peoples of Africa," has appeared. This 
year three following volumes, "The Peoples of Siberia," "The Peoples of 
Australia and Oceania," and "The Peoples of the Near East" will be pub- 
lished. The volumes to follow are "The Peoples of the Caucasus" and "The 
Peoples of America" and others. 

The preparation of the volumes on the "The Peoples of the World," devoted 
to the peoples of foreign underdeveloped countries, forced us to make a pro- 
found study of a number of problems. I shall dwell in brief only on two prob- 
lems which aroused the greatest interest. 

The first problem is the peculiarities of the development of the primitive 
communal, clan relations among backward peoples, involved, due to coloniza- 
tion, in the system of world capitalist economy. The examination of materials 
concerning the peoples of Africa has shown that in pure form they do not now 
exist, having been replaced by others, by new relations, and that the old clan 
tribal form of organization of a society which still exists does not correspond 
to these new social relations. Moreover, the artificial conservation of this form 
became an obstacle in the way of progress. 

The second problem is the peculiarities of the formation of a national com- 
munities among these peoples. The advanced peoples of the world long ago 
passed this stage of development when, as the result of mixing and merging of 
tribes, peoples nations were formed. Scientists now try to restore this picture 
of the formation of nations, using only literature and other historical data. In 
many underdeveloped countries this process is still going on. We are the wit- 
nesses of how tribal structure is decaying, how tribal differences disappear, and 
how tribal languages yield to national languages. 

Our ethnographers have done considerable work in this field and came to 
interesting conclusions. We would like this problem to be studied by a wider 
circle of scientists from other countries. 

Because of lack of time I shall not dwell on the problems relating to the 
history of primitive communal society. They occupy a proper place in the work 
of the ethnographers of our country. Our delegation will distribute among the 
participants of the Congress a special report on this subject. 

As is seen from my brief communication, the circle of interests of Soviet 
ethnography is very wide; being a special branch of historical science, it studies 
the development of ethnographic phenomena, beginning from the formation 
of human society to our days. Concentrating its main efforts on studying the 
peoples of the U.S.S.R., it also shows a definite interest in the peoples of all 
other countries. Developing within the general framework of world ethno- 
graphic science, it, however, has its own specific tasks. 

The presence in the contemporary world of two social-economic systems 
gives rise to differences in the scope of tasks which confront the enthographers 
of the countries belonging to this or that system. In the countries where a new, 
socialist society is being built, the ethnographers are confronted with tasks 

Current Trends in Ethnography in the U.S.S.R. 63 

which ethnography had not dealt with before ; these are the tasks of studying 
this new society. New tasks, as always, involve new difficulties, the search for 
new ways for their solution, and a struggle of opinions. 

Ethnographic study of a socialist society is a new stage in the development of 
ethnographical science. But this study is not separated by any abyss from its 
past. On the contrary, a successful development of ethnographic study of a 
socialist society is possible only on the basis of the utilization of all the best 
which is available in world ethnographic science of its best achievements and 

Moscow, U.S.S.R. 


Irving Rouse 

Interest in method and theory has been increasing among American arche- 
ologists. This trend culminated during the summer of 1955 in a series of four 
seminars on theory which were sponsored by the Society for American Archae- 
ology under a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The first 
seminar, held at Harvard University, made a study of archeological instances 
of contact between cultures. The second, at the University of Michigan, dis- 
cussed cultural change and persistence, as seen in the archeological record. 
The topic of the third seminar, at Santa Fe, was "The Prehistoric Southwest: 
a Problem in Cultural Isolation"; and of the fourth, at Washington, D.C., 
"Changing Settlement Patterns in American Cultural Evolution." The results 
of these seminars are being published as a Memoir of the Society for American 
Archaeology (Wauchope, 1956). 

American archeologists continue to explore methods of interpreting cultural 
remains in a functional manner. Perhaps the most fruitful recent innovation in 
this field has been the study of settlement patterns as a means of drawing infer- 
ences about social organization and other non-material aspects of culture, an 
approach which was pioneered by Willey (1953) in a study of Vim Valley 
archeology, Peru. In 1955 the American Anthropological Association sponsored 
a symposium on settlement patterns in American archeology, which is being 
published by the Wenner-Gren Foundation (Willey, 1956). 

A second aspect of method which continues to interest American archeolo- 
gists is the definition of concepts. Articles have been published during the past 
few years on the nature of artifact types; of cultures or phases, as some American 
archeologists prefer to call them; and of traditions and horizons, which link 
together the phases. Since these matters are being touched upon in another 
session of the Congress, I shall say no more about them here, except to call to 
your attention a pair of recent articles in the American Anthropologist by Phillips 
and Willey (1953, 1955), in which they are summarized. 

Phillips and Willey's second article also illustrates a third methodological 
problem which currently occupies the attention of American archeologists: 
developmental classification, or the grouping of cultures in a series of evolu- 
tionary stages. Originally applied by Steward and others to the areas of Indian 
civilizations in Mexico and Peru (Bennett, 1948), this approach has been ex- 
panded by Phillips and Willey to cover the entire New World. They postulate 
six evolutionary stages: (1) Early Lithic or (as some authors prefer to call it) 
Paleo-Indian, which corresponds to the Paleolithic in the Old World; (2) 
Archaic, which is roughly equivalent to the Old World Mesolithic; (3) Pre- 
Formative, a transitional stage, and (4) Formative, which are more or less 
comparable to the Old World Neolithic; and (5) Classic and (6) Post-Classic, 
which take the place of the Chalcolithic, Bronze, and Iron stages of the Old 
World. These last reflect the fact that the New World civilizations reached a 
climax in the Classic stage, during the latter part of the first millennium A,D., 

Recent Developments in American Archeology 65 

and subsequently underwent a series of modifications which produced the 

Phillips and Willey themselves, as well as other commentators, have pointed 
out weaknesses in this scheme of classification (e.g., McKern, 1956). I will not 
go into them here except to say that I see a parallel between the Phillips- 
Willey classifications and Childe's reformulation of the Paleolithic-to-Iron 
classification in the Old World (Ghilde, 1942). Just as the latter appears to 
work best in the Near Eastern center of civilization and to break down as one 
moves out of this center into Europe, Africa, and Asia, so the Phillips- Willey 
scheme (except, perhaps, in its earliest stages) seems to work best in the centers 
of New World civilization in Mexico and Peru and to break down as one moves 
outwards from those centers into the rest of North and South America. 

Turning from method and theory to the results of archeological research in 
the Americas, I shall attempt to outline the prehistory of the American Indian 
as it is now known, and at the same time to indicate the most important recent 
discoveries bearing upon that prehistory. I shall begin with the Paleo-Indians, 
or first settlers of the New World. 

American archeologists continue to push back their estimates of the time 
when the Paleo-Indians reached this hemisphere. Until recently, we would have 
considered 12,000 to 15,000 years ago to be the maximum, but we now have 
several radiocarbon dates between 20,000 and 25,000 (Johnson, 1956, Fig. 10) 
and two others, which seem difficult to believe, of more than 37,000 years ago 
(personal communication from Alex D. Krieger) . These last take us back past 
the beginning of the final (Wisconsin) glacial advance, although not neces- 
sarily into the preceding Sangamon interglacial. Few American archeologists 
are willing to accept the claim of the geographer, George F. Garter (1952), to 
have found remains of man near San Diego dating from the Sangamon. 

It is still generally agreed that the Paleo-Indian originated in Asia and 
entered the New World by way of the Bering Straits and Alaska. Of the nature 
of the culture which he brought in over this route, we know very little. We can 
say, however, that it was not Folsom, as some authors have supposed. Evidence 
has accumulated that the classic Folsom point developed relatively late in a 
rather restricted area on the central U.S. plains. Some archeologists have 
suggested that the original Paleo-Indian points may have been leaf-shaped, 
like the Sandia type; others, that they were made of bone rather than stone. 

Once the Paleo-Indian became settled in the United States, he appears to 
have developed at least two major types of culture, one east of the Rocky 
Mountains and the other to the west of the Rockies. The sequence east of the 
Rockies is the classic one, beginning with the Glovis fluted and/or Sandia types 
of projectile points and extending through Folsom fluted to various lanceolate 
types, which used to be grouped together under the name of Yuma (e.g., 
Sellards, 1952, pp. 17-75). West of the Rockies, the picture is still sojnewhat' 
confused, but there appears to have been a different sequence, which empha- 
sized gathering instead of hunting as the principal means of subsistence (cf. the 
paper delivered by Ruth D. Simpson at this Congress). 

Further evidence has accumulated concerning the spread of the Paleo- 
Indian southward from the United States into Latin America. At the site of 
Santa Isabel Iztapan in the Valley of Mexico, Aveleyra Arroyo de Anda (1955) 
and his associates have found projectile points and other artifacts in direct 
association with two mammoth skeletons ; while at El Jobo in Venezuela Jose* 
M. Cruxent (1956) has discovered somewhat similar artifacts in a series of 

66 Men and Cultures 

surface deposits. The El Jobo projectile points, in turn, resemble a series of leaf- 
shaped points from central Argentina (Rex Gonzalez, 1952, PI. XIII), for 
which a radiocarbon date of 6014 100 B.C. has been obtained (personal 
communication from E. S. Deevey, Jr.). 

While cultural remains of the Paleo-Indian are now well known, we have 
had less success in finding skeletal remains, i.e., the bones of the Paleo-Indian 
himself. An important step towards the solution of this problem was made in 
1954 with the discovery of a human skeleton at Midland, Texas, in apparent 
association with Clovis points and preceding the Folsom type (Wendorf, 
Krieger, and Albritton, 1955). The Midland skeleton confirms the theory 
that the Paleo-Indian was long-headed, like the Paleo-Mongoloid. 

Leaving the Paleo-Indian period, I shall now turn to the time when agri- 
culture and pottery made their appearance in the New World, i.e., to the period 
which some American archeologists have called Neo-Indian. While certain 
Old World archeologists maintain that Neo-Indian culture is the result of one 
or more migrations from Asia by way of the Pacific Islands, I believe it is safe 
to say that most of us in the New World still look upon Neo-Indian culture as a 
purely indigenous development, although some of us would not rule out the 
possibility of secondary influences across the Pacific and most of us are inclined 
to accept the probability of some diffusion through the Circum-Boreal zone 
(e.g., Smith, 1953). 

For some time, opinion has differed as to the place where the basic inventions 
took place which touched off the Neo-Indian development notably the 
domestication of maize and the invention of pottery. Some authorities have 
ascribed these inventions to the area in which Meso-American civilization 
subsequently developed, i.e., to Mexico and Guatemala; while others have 
assumed that maize was first domesticated and pottery invented in the area of 
the subsequent Central Andean civilizations, i.e., in Peru and Bolivia. Recent 
discoveries tend to support the first of these hypotheses. For example, the 
earliest direct evidence we now have of the cultivation of maize comes from 
North America: radiocarbon dates of 3651 290 B.C. for Bat Cave in New 
Mexico and 2491 100 B.C. for La Perra Cave in Tamaulipas, Mexico 
(Mangelsdorf, 1954). During 1954, Clifford Evans and Betty Meggers (personal 
communication) discovered pottery on the coast of Ecuador which is surpris- 
ingly close to that of Playa de los Muertos in Honduras, and they suggest that 
it indicates the diffusion of pottery-making (if not also of maize agriculture) 
from north to south. Reichel-Dolmatoff (1956) similarly views the early part 
of his ceramic sequence for the Caribbean coast of Colombia as a link between 
the Formative cultures of Middle America and the Central Andes; e.g., rocker- 
stamped pottery occurs early in all three areas, as though marking a common 
sub-stratum out of which civilization developed in both Middle America and 
the Central Andes (cf. Robert F. Greengo's paper on rocker-stamped pottery 
at this Congress; also Willey, 1955). 

Within Middle America, archeologists continue to concentrate on the later 
stages in the development of Meso-American civilization. As a result, we know 
very little about what Phillips and Willey (1955, pp. 765-6) would call the 
Archaic and Pre-Formative cultures of those areas; our detailed knowledge 
begins only with the Formative stage, about 1500 B.C. There is a parallel here 
with the situation in the Near East before the recent work of Braidwood and 
others; we are faced with a gap between the Paleo-Indian and Neo-Indian 
cultures, corresponding to the gap between the Paleolithic and Neolithic 

Recent Developments in American Archeology 67 

cultures of the Near East. We shall not be able to demonstrate conclusively the 
origin of Neo-Indian culture in the New World until this gap has been closed. 

The principal Classic civilizations of Middle America are those of Teoti- 
huacan, in the highlands of central Mexico, and of the "Old Empire" Maya, in 
the eastern lowlands of Guatemala and adjacent countries. These are suc- 
ceeded by Tula-Toltec and "New Empire 5 ' Maya as the principal post- 
Classic civilizations of the highlands and the lowlands respectively. While 
identification of the Tula site, rather than Teotihuacan, as the Toltec capital 
took place some time ago, it is perhaps worth noting here, since some summaries 
in English still overlook it (e.g., Howells, 1954, pp. 310-14). 

From Middle America, it is presumed that agriculture, pottery, and the other 
elements of Neo-Indian culture spread northward into the United States along 
two main routes: (1) via the highlands and adjacent coast of western Mexico 
into the American Southwest and (2) via the east coast of Mexico into the 
American Southeast. J. Charles Kelley has reported at this Congress on the 
progress recently made in the study of the western route ; and so I need only 
say here that the basic inventions seem to have originally spread northward 
along the highlands east of the coastal range. This wave of diffusion culminated 
in the Hohokam culture of southern Arizona, and it appears to have been 
followed by a second wave along the coast of the Gulf of California which 
influenced primarily the Pueblo peoples of northern Arizona and New Mexico. 

Within the Southwest, archeologists are still concerned with the question 
whether the two cultures I have just mentioned, Hohokam and Pueblo or 
Anasazi, constitute the only major traditions in the area or whether there is a 
third of equal importance, the Mogollon in the mountains of southeastern 
Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. (Parties from Harvard and Columbia 
Universities, the University of Arizona, and the Chicago Natural History 
Museum have all been recently working in or near this area.) The non- 
agricultural peoples, such as the Utes and Navaho, continue to receive relatively 
less attention from Southwestern archeologists than these agricultural groups 
(e.g., Reed, 1955). 

Moving north and west from the Southwest into the Great Basin, the Pacific 
Coast states of California, Oregon, and Washington, and the province of 
British Columbia, we gradually leave the area of Southwestern culture and 
begin to find only the remains of non-ceramic and non-agricultural people on 
an Archaic level of cultural development. In other words, Neo-Indian influ- 
ences from the Meso-American center die out, and the native inhabitants 
retain essentially the same sort of culture which they had at the close of the 
Paleo-Indian period, with gathering as their principal means of subsistence. 
Great progress has been made during the past four years in uncovering the 
remains in this area, largely through the work of the various state and pro- 
vincial universities (e.g., Beardsley, 1948), but we are still no closer to splving the 
basic problem of why the Indians here did not adopt agriculture, pottery, and the 
other elements of Neo-Indian culture, like their neighbors in the Southwest. 

East of the Rockies, we find a different course of cultural development, in 
the Neo-Indian as well as the Paleo-Indian period. As already stated, it is 
thought that agriculture and, to some degree at least, pottery spread into the 
eastern United States by way of the Gulf coastal plain. There is a gap between 
the Meso-American cultures at the southern end of the plain and the South- 
eastern cultures to the north, but this may be due to the unfavorable environ- 
ment in the intervening area (e.g., Krieger, 1948). 

68 Men and Cultures 

The cultural sequence in the eastern United States is now thought to include 
three major periods (Griffin, 1952). In the first, the Indians were on an Archaic 
level of development, i.e., they subsisted by food gathering and lacked both 
pottery and agriculture. The latest radiocarbon dates indicate that this period 
began in Illinois as early as 7000 B.C., that it overlapped the latter part of the 
Paleo-Indian period in the high plains to the west, as Mayer-Oakes has pointed 
out in another session of this Congress. 

The second great period was marked by the appearance of Woodland 
cultures, characterized by burial mounds, by conical-based pottery with 
textured surfaces, and presumably also by agriculture. While the agriculture 
clearly is derived from Middle America, opinion differs as to whether the burial 
mounds and /or the pottery may not have originated in Asia and spread to the 
New World along the supposed route of the previous, Paleo-Indian migration 
(e.g., Ford, Phillips, and Haag, 1955, p. 155). 

The third great period saw the rise in the southeastern part of the United 
States of what is known as Mississippi culture. This culture, which is character- 
ized by flat-topped temple mounds and by globular, smooth-surfaced pottery, 
is believed to have had its origin in the middle part of the Mississippi Valley, 
although Phillips. Ford and Griffin (1951), who recently published a monu- 
mental study of the area, failed to find clear evidence of this. The temple mounds 
and certain other ceremonial traits of Mississippi culture are thought to have 
diffused into the area from Mexico; they, together with certain presumed 
ceramic influences from the Southwest, may have touched off the Mississippi 

Mississippi culture failed to reach either the Plains or the Northeast, on the 
peripheries of eastern United States. Instead, in the river valleys along the 
eastern edge of the Plains, Woodland culture developed into a local, agricul- 
tural form of life, while on the high plains to the west hunting and gathering 
cultures continued much as in Paleo-Indian times. The low plains between the 
two were occupied alternately by agricultural and hunting peoples as the climate 
varied and as the acquisition of horses from the Spaniards increased the 
efficiency of hunting (e.g., Lehmer, 1954). 

In the Northeast, Woodland culture survived until historic time. It spread as 
far as the St. Lawrence Valley far above the latitude at which agriculture 
stopped west of the Rockies and reached a climax in the Iroquois culture of 
New York state, which was formerly thought to be derived from the area of 
Mississippi culture but is now considered to be a local development (MacNeish, 

On the earlier, Archaic level, radiocarbon dates have demolished the theory 
that the Eskimo influenced the Northeastern Indians (Ritchie, 1951 : 131). 
Rather it is the other way round. The so-called Eskimo traits of the North- 
eastern Archaic must have diffused from the Northeast to the Eskimo area, 
since they are earlier in the former area than in the latter. This hypothesis 
has been confirmed by Melgaard in his paper at the present Congress, in 
which he shows that the Gape Dorset culture, formerly thought to be Eskimo, 
is instead probably to be derived from the Archaic cultures of the northeastern 
United States and southeastern Canada. 

Turning to the Arctic area itself, we are beyond the range of Neo-Indian 
influences. Instead, we encounter evidences of diffusion from Asia and, during 
the medieval period, from Europe. The Denbigh flint complex is the best 
example of the former; it is a pre-Eskimo hunting culture characterized by 

Recent Developments in American Archeology 69 

microliths, or tiny lamellar flakes, like those of the Mesolithic in Mongolia. 
Giddings (1952 : 91) has recently strengthened the case for origin of this culture 
in Asia by showing that it is the only culture in the New World to possess true 
burins or gravers. The microlithic tradition of the Denbigh flint complex seems 
to have spread from Alaska across the Arctic to Greenland well before the time 
of Christ and, in many places, to have survived into the earliest forms of 
Eskimo culture. 

The Denbigh flint complex is succeeded in Alaska (e.g., at the lyatayet site) 
by "Paleo-" and then by "Neo-Eskimo" culture, the former characterized 
by partly inland, partly coastal hunting, and the latter by an emphasis on 
coastal hunting, particularly of the whale (Giddings, 1952:90-1). Subse- 
quently, at the close of the first millennium A.D., the " Neo-Eskimo " Thule 
culture spread eastward as far as Greenland and Labrador (Collins, 1954 : 
87-91). If Melgaard is correct in eliminating the Dorset culture from considera- 
tion as Eskimo (see above), then Thule must have been the first Eskimo culture 
in the central and eastern Arctic. 

The European influence in the Arctic area came about as a result of the 
Norse colonization of Greenland in the tenth century A.D. We have good evi- 
dence of Norse contact with the Thule-Eskimo, and much research has been 
done in an attempt to find archeological evidences of their further voyages to 
the mainland, i.e., to Canada and the United States, as described in the Norse 
sagas. The results are inconclusive (Br0nsted, 1954). As yet, we do not have any 
generally accepted evidence of Norse activity on the mainland, although it 
should be there. 

The Neo-Indian developments in South America remain to be discussed. 
Again, I shall deal first with the rise of civilization, in this case in the Central 
Andean center, and shall then discuss the diffusion (or lack thereof) from the 
center to the rest of South America. 

It is necessary to point out first that the Central Andean center, in Peru and 
Bolivia, is some distance away from the Meso-American center, in Mexico and 
Guatemala. Certain archeologists have postulated the existence of lost civiliza- 
tions in the intervening area, e.g., among the Chibcha of Colombia. Recent 
work, especially that of Haury and Cesar Cubillos (1953) in the Chibcha area, 
has disproved these theories. It now appears that the cultures of the northern 
Andes, while they may have had their origin in a common substratum extend- 
ing from Mexico to Peru, as already indicated, never reached the degree of 
development which was attained by their neighbors to the north and south, 
possibly for environmental reasons. 

Central Andean civilization, then, must have developed independently of 
Meso-American civilization, even though the two probably had a common 
origin and may have subsequently influenced each other to a certain extent. 
We know more about the Archaic and Pre-Formative stages of this develop- 
ment than we do in Middle America, thanks to the recent work of Bird (1948) 
on the shell heaps of northern Peru. The Formative, Classic, and Post-Classic 
stages are also well known, but cannot be discussed here for lack of time (see, 
e.g., Bennett and Bird, 1949, pp. 95-244). 

East of the Andes, in tropical South America, archeologists have devoted 
some effort in recent years to testing Steward's " Circum-Caribbean " theory. 
Working largely with ethnological data, Steward (1947) had postulated that 
agriculture, pottery, and the other elements of Neo-Indian culture spread into 
tropical South America by way of the Northern Andes and the Caribbean and 

70 Men and Cultures 

Guiana coasts. He assumed that this spread took place on a Formative level of 
development, producing what he called Circum-Caribbean culture on the north 
coast of South America and in the West Indies; that this Circum-Caribbean 
culture degenerated into Tropical Forest culture in the lowlands, under the 
influence of an adverse environment; and that, in its degenerated form, it 
spread up the Orinoco and Amazon Rivers into the interior of tropical South 

Steward's theory has been disproved by the work of Evans (1955) and 
Meggers at the mouth of the Amazon and of myself in the Antilles (Rouse, 
1953). In both places, we found Tropical Forest cultures underlying Circum- 
Caribbean, contrary to his theory. 

It seems to me that Steward may have been misled by an assumption that 
the agriculture of tropical South America had the same origin as that of Andean 
South America. Sauer (1952, pp. 45-66) has recently suggested, to the con- 
trary, that there were two different centers of agriculture in the New World : 
one of seed crops, especially maize, in Middle America (see above) , and the 
other of root crops, such as manioc, in lowland South America. This distinction 
corresponds to the one made in the Old World between the Near Eastern 
center of agriculture, based upon cereals, and a Southeast Asian center, based 
upon root crops and adapted to tropical forest conditions. 

Recent research in Venezuela by J. M. Cruxent and myself tends to support 
Sauer's theory. We find two great cultural traditions, one centering around 
Lake Maracaibo in the northwestern part of the country and the other cen- 
tering in the Orinoco Valley to the south and east. The former is characterized 
by pottery of Central American type and, so far as can be told from the arche- 
ology, by maize agriculture. The latter has instead pottery of Amazonian type 
and bitter-manioc agriculture. Our radiocarbon dates indicate that both 
traditions extend well back into the first millennium B.C. in the case of the 
eastern, root-crop tradition to at least 900 B.C. (Cruxent and Rouse, 1956). 
These facts lead us to suggest, as a hypothesis worth considering, that there 
were two more or less independent centers of Neo-Indian cultural development 
in South America, one in the Central Andes which is related to the Meso- 
American center and has evolved through the same general stages, and the other 
in tropical South America which is based upon locally domesticated crops and 
has passed through its own distinctive developmental stages. 

Turning to the south, we find influences from the Central Andes predominant 
in the Southern Andes, where the Indians were especially skilled in bronze 
working (Bennett and Bird, 1949, pp. 86-93). Beyond that area, in southern 
South America, there is cultural stagnation, like that on the Pacific coast of 
North America. The Indians of southern South America have been termed 
"marginal" because for the most part they failed to adopt agriculture, pottery, 
and the other traits of Neo-Indian culture. Because of their isolated position, 
too, they were unable to receive influences from the Old World, such as are 
found in northern North America. 

Tale University, 

New Haven, Connecticut. 

Recent Developments in American Archeology 71 


Aveleyra Arroyo de Anda, Luis 

1955. El segundo mamut fosil de Santa Isabel Iztapan, Mexico, y artefactos asociados. 
Institute Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, Direcci6n de Prehistoria, 
Publicacion No. 1 . Mexico. 

Beardsley, Richard K. 

1948. Cultural Sequences in Central California Archaeology. American Antiquity, 

14: (1) 1-28. Menasha. 
Bennett, Wendell C. (assembler) 

1948. A Reappraisal of Peruvian Archaeology. Memoirs of the Society for American 
Archaeology, No. 4. Menasha. 

Bennett, Wendell C., and Junius B. Bird 

1949. Andean Culture History. American Museum of Natural History, Handbook 
Series, No. 15. New York. 

Bird, Junius 

1948. Preceramic Cultures in Chicama and Viru. Memoirs of the Society for American 

Archaeology, 4: 21-28. Menasha. 
Bronsted, Johannes 

1954. Norsemen in North America before Columbus. Annual Report of the Smithsonian 

Institution for 1953, pp. 367-405. Washington. 
Carter, George F. 

1952. Interglacial Artifacts from the San Diego Area. Southwestern Journal of Anthro- 
pology, 8 : (4) 444-456. Albuquerque. 
Childe, V. Gordon 

1942. What Happened in History. Harmondsworth, Penguin Books, Ltd. 
Collins, Henry B. 

1954. Arctic Area. Program of the History of America: Indigenous Period; Institute 
Panamericano de Geografia e Historia, Publicacion, No. 160. Mexico. 

Gruxent, J. M. 

1956. Discovery of a Lithic Industry of Paleo-Indian Type in Venezuela. American 
Antiquity, 22 : (2) 172-173. Salt Lake City. 

Cruxent, J. M., and Irving Rouse 

1956. "An Archaeological Chronology of Venezuela." Manuscript in the Yale 

Peabody Museum. New Haven. 
Evans, Clifford 

1955. New Archeological Interpretations in Northeastern South America. In New 
Interpretations of Aboriginal American Culture History, pp. 82-94. Washington. 

Ford, James A., Philip Phillips, and William G. Haag 

1955. The Jaketown Site in West-Central Mississippi. Anthropological Papers of the 
American Museum of Natural History, 45 : (1). New York. 

Giddings, J. L., Jr. 

1952. Ancient Bering Strait and Population Spread. Science in Alaska : Selected Papers 

of the Alaska Science Conference, pp. 85-102. Washington. 
Griffin, James B. (editor) 

1952. Archaeology of Eastern United States. Chicago. 
Haury, Emil W., and Julio Cesar Cubillos 

1953. Investigaciones arqueo!6gicas en la sabana de Bogota, Colombia (cultura 
Chibcha). University of Arizona, Social Science Bull. 22. Tucson. 

Howells, William 

1954. Back of History. Garden City, Doubleday & Co. 
Johnson, Frederick (compiler) 

1956. "Chronology and Development of Early Cultures in North America." 
Mimeographed. Andover, Mass. 

72 Men and Cultures 

Krieger, Alex D. 

1948. Importance of the "Gilmore Corridor" in Culture Contacts between Middle 
America and the Eastern United States. Bulletin of the Texas Archeological and 
Paleontological Society, 19: 7 155-178. Lubbock. 
Lehmer, Donald J. 

1954. The Sedentary Horizon of the Northern Plains. Southwestern Journal of Anthro- 
pology, 10: (2) 139-159. Albuquerque. 
MacNeish, Richard S. 

1952. Iroquois Pottery Types: a Technique for the Study of Iroquois Prehistory. National 
Museum of Canada, Bull. 124. Ottawa. 

Mangelsdorf, Paul C. 

1954. New Evidence on the Origin and Ancestry of Maize. American Antiquity, 
19 : (4) 409-410. Salt Lake City. 

McKern, William C. 

1956. On Willey and Phillips' "Method and Theory in American Archaeology." 

American Anthropologist, n.s., 58 : (2) 360-361. Menasha. 
Phillips, Philip, James A. Ford, and James B. Griffin 

1951. Archaeological Survey in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley, 1940-1947. 
Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard 
University, Vol. 25. Cambridge. 

Phillips, Philip, and G. R. Willey 

1953, 1955. Method and Theory in American Archeology. American Anthropologist, 

n.s., 55 : 615-633; 57 : 723-819. Menasha. 
Reed, Erik K. 

1955. Trends in Southwestern Archeology. In New Interpretations of Aboriginal 
American Culture History, pp. 46-58. Washington. 

Reichel-DolmatofF, Gerardo 

1956. Momil: a Formative Sequence from the Sinu Valley, Colombia. American 
Antiquity, 22 : (3) 226-234. Salt Lake City. 

Rex Gonzalez, Alberto 

1952. Antiguo horizonte preceramico en las Sierras Centrales de la Argentina. 
Runa: Archivo para las Ciencias del Hombre, 5 : 110-133. Buenos Aires. 

Ritchie, William A. 

1951. A Current Synthesis of New York Prehistory. American Antiquity, 17 : (2) 
130-136. Salt Lake City. 

Rouse, Irving 

1953. The Circum-Caribbean Theory, an Archeological Test. American Anthro- 
pologist, n.s., 55 : (2) 188-200. Menasha. 

Sauer, Carl 

1952. Agricultural Origins and Dispersals. New York. 
Sellards, E. H. 

1952. Early Men in America: a Study in Prehistory. Austin, Texas. 
Smith, Marian W. (assembler) 

1953. Asia and North America : Transpacific Contacts. Memoirs of the Society for Ameri- 
can Archaeology, No. 9. Salt Lake City. 

Steward, Julian H. 

1947. American Culture History in the Light of South America. Southwestern 

Journal of Anthropology, 3 : (2) 85-107. Albuquerque. 
Wauchope, Robert (editor) 

1956. Seminars in Archeological Theory. Memoirs of the Society for American Archae- 
ology, No. 10. Salt Lake City. 
Wendorf, Fred, Alex D. Krieger, and Claude C. Albritton 

1955, The Midland Discovery: a Report on the Pleistocene Human Remains from Midland, 
Texas. Austin. 

Recent Developments in American Archeology 73 

Willey, Gordon R. 

1953. Prehistoric Settlement Patterns in the Viru Valley, Peru. Bureau of American 
Ethnology, Bull. 155. Washington. 

1955. The Interrelated Rise of the Native Cultures of Middle and South America. 
In New Interpretations of Aboriginal American Culture History, pp. 28-45. 

Willey, Gordon R. (compiler) 

1956. Settlement Patterns in American Archaeology. Viking Fund Publications in Anthro- 
pology, No. 22. New York. 


J. JV. Spuhler 

My assignment is to discuss some recent developments in human genetics that 
are of interest to the biological side of anthropology. Because the developments 
are large in number, and the time available is small, I shall emphasize work 
carried out or published since 1952, the year of our last Congress in Vienna, 
where more than a dozen papers, including a general one by Dr. Otmar von 
Verschuer, were devoted to human genetics. 

Anthropology and Pennsylvania have a special importance for the history of 
human genetics. The beginning of formal human genetics dates from 1903 
when a graduate student in anthropology at Harvard reported field work in 
Pennsylvania which first showed that a morphological trait in man followed a 
simple Mendelian mode of inheritance. This was in the Ph.D. thesis of William 
C. Farabee (published 1905) which included a genetic study of brachydactyly 
in a kindred of 69 Pennsylvanians. 

For many years human genetics received much more from general genetics 
than it returned. Aside from material on certain rare pathological traits, 
published statements on human genetics during the first quarter or third of 
this century tended to rest heavily on analogy from other organisms. The 
situation is starting to change. Today, for certain areas in general genetics, 
human material is the material of choice that is, for certain topics of general 
interest, we know and easily can learn more about man than about any other 
species and I am not excluding insects, nor plants, nor micro-organisms. 
Anthropologists can take more than a vicarious pleasure in this state of 
affairs, for in one of these fields (population genetics) they have collected, or 
collaborated in the collection, of much of the new data. 

During the last 100 years, physical anthropologists have shown primary 
interest in three main problem areas : 

(1st) The problem of the evolution of man and his primate relatives. This 
is the phylogenetic problem. 

(2nd) The problem of the comparative growth of modern man. This is the 
ontogenetic problem (although anthropologists have neglected somewhat the 
parts of ontogeny between conception and birth) . 

(3rd) The problem of the classification of the recent varieties of man. This is 
the problem of anthropological or human racial taxonomy. 

Genetics has had some (but rather uneven) influence on each of these three 

Up to now, genetics has had little to do with work on human growth. In 
part this reflects the vast deficiencies in our knowledge of the genetic aspects of 
ontogeny in any organism (For an excellent review see Dickerson 1954). We 
are beginning to understand quite a lot about how genes work on the molecular 
or biochemical level. And we have strong evidence that genes are somehow of 
importance in controlling (along with environmental factors) "final" body 
size in man. Clark's twin study (1956) on the heritability of body size, and much 

Recent Developments in the Field of Genetics 75 

of the family studies now being done in Germany and elsewhere in Europe 
(reported to us by Dr. Schwidetsky) as background for forensic applications are 
examples. Despite these and other good beginnings, we remain largely ignorant 
of the detailed structures and events which connect genotypes and phenotypes 
in the developmental sense. 

Genetics has made a greater impact on the study of the evolution of the 
higher primates. However, except for the most recent stages of human micro- 
evolution a topic I will consider next under taxonomy this impact has been 
more on general evolutionary theory (e.g., Simpson 1953) than on detailed, 
special, substantive contributions. The 1950 Cold Spring Harbor Symposium 
on the Origin and Evolution of Man (Demerec 1951) is typical of the anthro- 
pological application of genetical theories of evolution. Dobzhansky's 1955 
book on Evolution, Genetics, and Man is also characteristic in that it is an excellent 
introductory statement on the genetical theory of evolution, but considerably 
less than five per cent of it has to do specifically with man. 

By far the greatest impact has been on the third, or taxonomic, set of prob- 
lems. In fact, for many contemporary papers on anthropological population 
genetics, it would be difficult to tell from the content alone whether the authors 
had been trained as anthropologists, geneticists, serologists, or even biochemists. 

I assume that you are familiar with the general features of the genetical 
theory of evolution (sometimes called the statistical theory) . 

First a definition: By "evolution" we mean "change in gene frequency". 
It is most convenient to start with a condition in which there is no evolution 
where gene frequencies do not change from one generation to the next. For 
single autosomal alleles this is defined by starting with the Hardy-Weinberg 
steady state which holds (given random mating for the alleles in question and 
certain other usually reasonable assumptions) when the frequency of the 
heterozygous genotype is equal to twice the product of the square roots of the 
frequencies of the two homozygous genotypes. 

In Sewall Wright's system of population genetics (1931, 1942, 1949a, 1949b, 
1951), and Li 1955, there are four major, systematic modes of change in gene 
frequency which are defined in a way that they are an exhaustive list of the 
determinate, or partially determinate, modes of change. These are mutation, 
selection, gene flow (also called migration or mixture), and genetic drift. Of 
course on a local or even larger scale, unique events or other "non-determinate" 
affairs may have been very important in human evolution. Insofar as anthro- 
pologists can document such unique events, population genetics can accom- 
modate theoretically to them. Where nothing definite is known, we naturally 
must assume some sort of standardized (and probably over-simplified) con- 

Before turning to more strictly anthropological affairs, I want briefly to 
sketch the state of present knowledge on mutation, selection, gene flow, and 
genetic drift in man. There will not be time to discuss here non-random 
systems of mating, i.e., inbreeding and assortative mating, but unless they are 
associated with selection, inbreeding and assortative mating are not very 
important for the study of evolution because they act to change the population 
distribution but not the frequency of genes. 

Mutation is the beginning of all new genetic variation. We know very little 
about the submicroscopic, physico-chemical events which occur when a gene 
mutates. However, enough is known about the phenotypical results of mutation 
to allow (if we can project backward presently observable rates) some insight 

76 Men and Cultures 

into the role of mutation as a factor in recent (say, post-Pleistocene) racial 
differentiation. Known, spontaneous mutation rates per gene per generation in 
man tend to cluster about 1 in 50,000 in the more reliable estimates, although 
rates as high as about 1 in 10,000 are as firmly established as any of the better 
estimates (For a review, see Spuhler 1956). This statement is based on a survey 
of 37 different studies of mutation rates for 27 different human genes. It is of 
interest to note that we know more about mutation rates in man than in any 
other vertebrate, the record for second place being for six genes in the mouse. 

Although of first importance in long-term evolution, mutation probably is 
not of primary importance in explanations of genetic differences between 
contemporary human populations, at least on the size scale of continental 
populations. The known differences in gene frequencies tend to be of degree 
rather than of kind, and processes other than mutation which is recurrent at low 
rates in all populations seem sufficient to explain the observed degrees of 
difference. For example, Vandepitte and associates (1955) have shown that the 
maximum mutation rate (and this is seemingly a high maximum) for hemoglobin 
S is not sufficient to maintain the known high frequency of sickle-cell trait in 
Africa. Probably we will soon have enough information to demonstrate that 
mutation rates may differ with geographical location for example, there are 
theoretical grounds for believing that areas like the high plateaux of Tibet and 
Bolivia receive sufficiently more cosmic radiation compared to sea level to 
raise a mutation rate of 1 in 50,000 by about 6 per cent (Muller 1954). 

From several points of view, selection is one of the hottest issues in con- 
temporary population genetics. Perhaps the main reason is that we still do not 
have satisfactory mathematical models (See, for example, Feller, 1951). If you 
look at the standard texts (like Li, Population Genetics, 1955), you find that 
everything is discussed in terms of hypothetical single alleles, often called 
"A" and "a". But selection is against or for whole organisms and not the 
genes at a single locus. Even if we had satisfactory general theoretical models, 
the job of collecting the necessary empirical data is enormous; the complexity 
of the job is illustrated by considering that man has something of the order of 
20,000 gene loci. We will have to do better than certain psychologists who 
reported that they were studying the "whole child", meaning that they were 
considering at least one more attribute than previous workers. 

Most geneticists feel that selection (working on variability provided by 
mutation and recombination) is the primary evolutionary process. Many 
anthropologists would agree (e.g., Coon 1955). There is considerable contro- 
versy about the relative importance of other factors, for example between some 
British and American workers regarding genetic drift. Most geneticists would 
agree with Dr. Garn in his statement yesterday that there are few if any 
neutral genes; and also with Dr. Lehmann that some genes are more neutral 
than others. I do feel that Dr. Garn (probably intentionally) somewhat over- 
stated the case for rapid change in gene frequencies for the red blood cellular 
antigens; it is safe to assume that selection is changing them (Brues 1954) but 
we lack good information on the rates of change. 

The diversity in the ABO gene frequencies for closely related local popula- 
tions is well established (Mourant 1954). However, it is not firmly established 
that this diversity mostly is due to selection. It may be; it probably is; we 
simply do not know. In order to demonstrate a selective effect, it is not enough 
to show that certain rare disease conditions or differences in sex ratio are 
significantly associated with the distribution of the ABO phenotypes. For an 

Recent Developments in the Field of Genetics 77 

introduction to the rapidly growing literature on this subject see Allan 1954, 
Buckwalter et al. 1956, Cohen and Glass 1956, Johnstone 1954a, 1954b, and 
Kirk et al. 1955. To demonstrate selection we must show a change in gene 
frequency over two or more generations. For example, Matsunga (1955), using 
pooled material from metropolitan Tokyo, has demonstrated (for that popula- 
tion sample) a significant deficiency in blood group A and B offspring in 
incompatible ma tings with O mothers and A and B fathers. And he has shown 
an increased loss during pregnancy for incompatible as compared to com- 
patible matings. But his rather large series did not demonstrate a significant 
change in frequencies between generations. 

The human animal is both a very good and a very bad one to work with on 
selection problems. It is good because one can utilize a great deal of important 
information which has been carefully collected on very large numbers by 
trained people for other purposes. It is bad because man is a remarkably 
infertile animal in which many factors other than straight biology are extremely 
important in determining the number of offspring. 

Some of our best information on selection in man has to do with hemo- 
globin S (Neel 1954). Of course here I am neglecting certain of the rare patho- 
logical traits like hemophilia and achondroplasia for which we have relatively 
sound information, and also cases like infantile amaurotic idiocy for which the 
selective advantage is known to be zero. Dr. Lehmann yesterday brought up to 
date Allison's work (1954a, 1954b) suggesting a balanced polymorphism with 
selective advantage for the heterozygotes for hemoglobin S which allows them 
to live with a high infestation of falciparum malaria. Dr. Lehmann's data 
suggesting that the selective event is in infancy is an important contribution, 
for it removes a difficulty in previously available data on adults which do not 
show an increase in the frequency of sickle-cell trait with advancing adult age, 
a finding which would be required if the selective event were in adulthood. 

Because selection is so much in the air now, I am going to stress a con- 
servative attitude. We all agree that selection is important. We must do a lot 
more work in order to measure its differential importance for known genes and 
populations. We ought to be very critical about detailed examples of selection 
in man (See Neel 1956 for a critical survey of present information on hemo- 
globin S and other abnormal hemoglobins). For instance, there is an equally 
good, if not better, fit in distribution between mean annual rainfall (and pre- 
sumably relative humidity) and sickle-cell trait than between malaria and 
sickle-cell trait. This is at least worthy of serious study since Zarafonetis et al. 
(1955) reported that persons with sickle-cell trait are unable to concentrate 
urine with a specific gravity greater than 1.018 even with intramuscular 
injections of 5 units of pitressin. It may turn out that sickle-cell gene frequencies 
are controlled by factors other than malaria, factors perhaps closely associated 
with malarial selection. 

Gene flow or migration is like mutation in that it is a process which intro- 
duces new gene variation into the population. Lasker (1954) has shown that in 
several American Indian local populations migration rates are sufficiently 
high to swamp the effects of genetic drift. Glass and Li (1953), Roberts (1955), 
and Glass (1955) have shown that gene flow from Africa and from Europe has 
occurred at rates such that the contemporary American Negro population 
contains genes from the two sources in ratios of the order 7 to 3 or 8 to 2 and 
that gene flow from American Indians has been relatively small. 

Genetic drift (It might better be called "gene frequency drift") refers to 

78 Men and Cultures 

the accidents of sampling in gametogenesis and fertilization whereby the 
frequencies of a set of alleles in the offspring generation may differ from those 
in the parental generation. The nature of the process is illustrated easily by 
considering the fact that the two genes present at each autosomal locus in the 
child are a sample of the four genes present in the parents at that locus. Genetic 
drift is especially important in the gene dynamics of small breeding populations, 
while mutation, selection and gene flow are of particular importance in changes 
in gene frequency in populations larger than a certain critical size, that is, 
when JVis greater than l/(4w), or l/(4.r), or I/ (4m), where JVis the size of the 
breeding population, u is the mutation rate per gene per generation, s is the 
selection coefficient (the rate of survival of a gene in a breeding population with 
reference to one of its alleles taken as a standard), and m is the rate of gene 
flow per gene per generation into the population. Birdsell (1953) for native 
Australia and Glass (1954) for the Dunker isolates in this country are excellent 
examples of recent studies on genetic drift in human populations. 

I am going to say relatively little about the blood groups and anthropology. 
The story is well known. Excellent summaries on the great volume of informa- 
tion available are given by Race and Sanger (1954) on the serology and genetics 
of the various systems and by Mourant (1954) on the world distribution of these 
systems. Ten different systems are of especial anthropological significance: 
ABO, MNSs, Rh, Lewis, P, Lutheran, Kell, Duffy, Kidd and Diego (On Diego 
see Levine et al. 1956). A great deal remains to be done in the anthropological 
interpretation of the blood groups data (Boyd, Genetics and the races ofman y 1950, 
is still the best introduction). In particular we need to pay much more atten- 
tion, in both the secondary and the primary literature, to the anthropological 
characteristics of the populations sampled. 

By using an arc sine transformation (See Eisenhart 1947), it is possible to 
define a coefficient of relationship or divergence for gene frequencies so that 
the divergence between any number of populations taken two at a time for 
any number of gene frequencies can be expressed as a single number which is 
zero for identical, and increasingly large for increasingly divergent populations. 
A multiple of this coefficient is distributed as chi square with degrees of freedom 
equal to the number of genes whose frequencies are used in the calculations 
minus the number of loci represented by these genes. Using such a measure of 
differences in gene (or chromosomal) frequencies, I have calculated (in an 
unpublished study) the 210 coefficients between 15 European populations for 
13 frequencies of the ABO (p, q, r), MN (m, n), Rh (GDEe, GdEe, cDE, 
cdE, cDe, cde), and P (p', p") systems. I was particularly interested to see if 
the Basques were distinctive if one used all the available data and not simply 
the Rh system. Each of the populations is significantly different from the others. 
The order of divergence of each population from the others (as measured by the 
mean value of the 14 coefficients between each population and the rest) is as 
follows: Basques 12, Czechs 8, Danes 2, Dutch 10, English 5, French 1, Ger- 
mans 7, Greeks 4, Irish 11, North Italians 3, Sicilians 13, Latvians 15, Nor- 
wegians 6, Poles 14, and Spanish 9. On this criterion and these data, the 
Latvians are the most divergent, and the Sicilians and the Poles were more 
divergent than the Basques who rank 12th in the mean coefficient of diver- 

On the basis of this preliminary study, I would suggest that we are not 
justified in classifying the Basques as an example of "Early European" as 
historically distinct from (and ancestral to?) the "European" serological race 

Recent Developments in the Field of Genetics 79 

(Boyd 1950) unless, of course, one is willing to give distinct taxonomic status 
to Latvians, Sicilians, and Poles. 

Aside from the Basques, it seems that Boyd's classification gives an essentially 
sound picture (See also Boyd and Boyd 1954). The major gaps in gene fre- 
quencies correspond to continents with some overlaps which fall (on other 
anthropological grounds) in the right places for example, in North Africa, 
Middle America, and in the circumpolar region. Probably we will need to 
recognize at least three major divisions for Oceania. These human taxons of 
continental size are the " Geographical Races" of Garn and Goon (1955) and 
others. Within the larger units, it is arbitrary how local breeding populations 
are united or separated in "Local Races". We will do it in different ways for 
different problems. The type of information we need to know is the degree of 
resemblance of each local group to all of the others. 

Probably the most fascinating and important of recent developments in 
human genetics of anthropological interest is the mass of new information on 
the varieties of normal and abnormal hemoglobin. This series of studies 
started 46 years ago when Herrick (1910) gave a primarily morphological 
description of sickle-shaped red blood corpuscles in a case of severe anemia. 
Today few topics in biology or medicine have such a broad sweep of interest, 
going from the physical chemistry of large molecules to the complex, inter- 
species, ecological relationships which join mosquitoes, Plasmodium falciparum 
and man in the Old World tropical and sub-tropical regions. 

Hemoglobin molecules, when suitably prepared, will migrate under the 
influence of an electric field. The direction of migration is a function of the 
net surface charge and the rate of migration is a function of surface charge 
density. The discovery suggested by Watson et aL in 1948 and demonstrated 
by Pauling and his associates in 1949, that the basic change in a sickle corpuscle 
has to do with a change in the hemoglobin molecule led to the discovery of 
several other varieties of hemoglobin which differ in electrophoretic activity 
and other ways and whose genetic control and population distribution are of 
anthropological interest. 

These varieties are assigned alphabetical names (Neel et al. 1953). In addition 
to normal adult (A) and fetal (F) hemoglobins, the following ten abnormal 
varieties are known: C, D, E, G, H, I, J, K, M, and S (Allison 1955, Henderson 
1956, Zuelzer et al. 1956). Neel, Miller and Livingstone may have found two 
new varieties in Liberia during the present year. Dr. Lehmann has already 
reviewed for this Congress something of anthropological significance of the 
various hemoglobins. For those interested in the classification of human popu- 
lations in terms of gene frequencies, the hereditary hemoglobinopathies have 
special importance because of their uneven distribution in the populations of 
the world. 

There is not time to mention details of recent genetic work on thalassemia, 
PTC taste reaction, cyanide smelling, color vision, body size and certain 
morphological traits, dermatoglyphics, and variations in pigmentation. Before 
closing I want to mention two new lines of genetic work with possible anthro- 
pological application. 

The excretion of j3-aminoisobutyric acid (BAIB) in the urine is readily 
detected by paper chromatography (Sutton 1955). Several investigators have 
shown excretion of BAIB to be highly characteristic of individuals and mostly 
to be independent of certain environmental effects including diet. Harris 
(1953) for English, and Calchi-Novati (1954) for Italian families, as well 

80 Men and Cultures 

as others, have put forward a tentative hypothesis that high excretion of BAIB 
is a simple Mendelian recessive. However, when quantitative measurements 
are made, population samples show intermediates between high and low 
excretors (de Grouchy and Sutton 1957). Using a scale based on reflectance 
readings from the chromatograms where 100 is no detectable excretion of 
BAIB and 40-50 is very high excretion, de Grouchy and Sutton (1957) find a 
correlation between the average of the two parents and their offspring of 
r = -f .53, which is significant at the 1 per cent level and an indication that 
excretion of BAIB is rather strongly inherited. 

The distribution of BAIB excretion is known for Asiatic Indians, Whites, 
American Negroes, Thai, Chinese and Japanese for samples which are rather 
small. None of the Indians (mostly Hindu) are high excretors. The Caucasians 
are next lower in excretors, while the Negroes, Thai, Chinese, and Japanese 
all show a high percentage of individuals who excrete moderate or large 
quantities of BAIB. Ranking tests show three clusters of population samples 
which differ significantly from each other: (1) Indian-Caucasian, (2) Negro, 
and (3) Thai-Chinese-Japanese (Sutton and de Grouchy 1956, Sutton and 
Clark 1955). 

By employing starch gels as a supporting medium for zone electrophoresis, 
Smithies (1955) distinguished three qualitatively different types (called Types 
I, HA, and IIB) of 2 globulins in normal human serum from Caucasians. 
Genetic studies are under way. Smithies and Walker (1955), in an interim 
report on 18 families with a total of 39 children, obtained evidence that these 
groups are controlled by two alleles lacking dominance, Types I and IIB 
representing the two homozygotes and Type IIA the heterozygote. Sutton et al. 
(1957) have shown that the types differ markedly in frequency in a pooled 
series of Caucasians from Toronto and Ann Arbor, Michigan, and in Africans 
from Liberia and the Ivory Coast. Tests have been done on 98 Whites and 
80 Africans. The frequency of the gene which when homozygous results in 
Type I is .41 in the Caucasian sample and .78 in the African series. If sup- 
ported by future work, this inherited difference in the serum globulins will be 
of value in studies on human population genetics. 

Finally let me mention a possibility which is still in the future. Puck and his 
associates (1955, 1956), working in the Department of Biophysics at the 
University of Colorado Medical Center in Denver, have devised tissue-culture 
methods which allow cultures of human cells to be grown where all of the cells 
are descendants of a single cell. This provides a population of cells all of 
identical genotypes. Developments from this method may make possible a 
vast amount of new work on human biochemical genetics using techniques 
like those which have been so successful in the study of Neurospora. Since the 
composition of the culture medium can be finely controlled, very delicate 
differences in cell metabolism can be detected by seeing which cells are able 
to live and grow in what media. When developments like this are accom- 
plished, we can look forward to the discovery of a large number of biochemical 
variations of interest to human population genetics and to anthropology. 

University of Michigan, 
Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

Recent Developments in the Field of Genetics 81 


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82 Men and Cultures 

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1955. A Further Study of A-B-O Blood Groups and Differential Fertility Among 
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1954. Human Evolution in Contemporary Communities. Southwest. Jour. Anthrop. 
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1956. The Diego Blood Factor. Nature 177 : 40-41 . 
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1955. Population Genetics. Chicago, University of Chicago Press. 
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1955. Intra-uterine Selection by the ABO Incompatibility of Mother and Foetus. 
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1955. A Rapid Method for Viable Cell Titration and Clone Production with HeLa 
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1954. Blood Groups in Man. 2nd ed. Springfield, 111., Charles C. Thomas. 
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1953. Tfa Major Features of Evolution. New York, Columbia University Press. 
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1955. Grouped Variations in the Occurrence of New Protein Components in 

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1955. Genetic Control of Some Serum Proteins in Normal Humans. Nature 176: 

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1956. Estimation of Mutation Rates in Man. Clinical Orthopaedics, 8 : 34-43. 
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Regina Flannery 

It is generally accepted that what Benedict called the Dionysian configuration 
of Plains culture represents a dominant, if not the only trend. By definition a 
configuration is a generalization lying behind and explaining a number of 
cultural patterns. A pattern itself is of course an abstraction from the behavior of 
a number of individuals. The behavior of any one person may vary at different 
times in respect to a particular type of situation, but it is unlikely that the 
individual will show the whole range of possible behavior within a pattern ; it 
will cover only a portion thereof. As Linton pointed out, the difference between 
the individual mode within this segment, and the mode of the behaviors on 
which the pattern is based, reflects the compromise which every individual has 
to make between the culture patterns of his society and his own inclinations. It 
would seem further, then, that if the modes of an individual's behavior-ranges 
show a consistent displacement with respect to a large series of patterns, it is 
safe to assume that the direction of this displacement reflects some quality of the 
individual. 1 The question we wish to raise is this: If the aspect of personality 
thus revealed runs counter to a dominant trend of his culture, is the individual 
a misfit in that society? 

In attempting an answer, let us examine some individual variations within 
those patterns of Plains culture in which expression of emotional excess, and 
dangerous experience were expected of women in one Plains society, that of the 
Gros Ventres of Montana. We shall outline in some detail the behavior of one 
Gros Ventre woman in respect of these selected patterns from which the 
Dionysian configuration was abstracted and contrast her behavior with that 
of others of approximately the same age. All had participated as adults in the 
old way of life before the disappearance of the buffalo in 1887. 

In Gros Ventre culture, as in all the Plains, there was high valuation placed 
on direct contact of the individual with the supernatural through dreams and 
visions. Men could actively seek such contact by employing dangerous means, 
and did so in order to obtain many kinds of power. While women did not go on 
the actual power quest, they might acquire medicine powers and less frequently, 
perhaps, powers of clairvoyance. Medicine powers were considered dangerous 
in that, it was believed, by accepting them a limitation was put upon the life 
span of the practitioner. But the rewards in terms of prestige for -successful 
performance and of payment for services were high for women as well as for 
men. Not every individual man was successful in his quest, nor of course was 
every woman vouchsafed the kinds of dreams which were requisite. Coming 
Daylight, the woman whose behavior we are examining in particular, was what 
her contemporaries considered fortunate indeed in having been offered curing 
powers of several kinds. Nevertheless she rejected the possibility each time, in 
spite of the fact that she had a living example in the person of her father's sister of 
what it could mean in prestige to a woman who accepted. As the reasons for her 
refusal seem significant I shall describe her experience in her own words. 

88 Men and Cultures 

"My experience was by dreaming. One time before I was married I must 
have been about eight years old I was sleeping in a big lodge and a * person' 
came and wakened me. He had a bag of medicines on his back. He came to 
me on four successive nights and laid out these medicines and told me what 
each was for. On the third of these nights there was a man lying there he was 
just skin and bones. The 'person' who had awakened me told me: 'You could 
take all these medicines and you could cure people like that one lying there' 
[i.e., a person in the last extremity]. In my dream I would do everything he 
told me, manipulate my hands to draw out the sickness, and do everything. 
But I didn't want that power and would tell him so. Each morning too I would 
relate to my grandmother exactly what had happened in the night but she would 
try to hush me up, telling me : * Don't say anything; don't tell anyone. You will be 
a great medicine woman.' But I didn't want that power. I didn't like it because 
when medicine people suck on the weak part of the sick person they have to 
swallow what they extract. I had decided I would rather be quiet and not do 
anything like that, or sacrifice my flesh, or things of that kind. Perhaps if it had 
come later I might have taken that power and become great." 

Nevertheless when later in life she had other dreams indicating supernatural 
power, she likewise refused. She explained in regard to one of these experiences, 
for instance: "The one who awakened me this time had told me to face the 
rising sun and was showing me how to make a smudge from the moss that grows 
close on logs; but I told him. 'No. I would rather not have it.' Those who have 
power die too soon." 

Incidentally, still in connection with curing, bleeding was an operation 
which was performed purely as a natural remedy for a person who felt dizzy 
or sluggish. Anyone could do it no supernatural validation was needed. Other 
women described quite casually how it was done and discussed the various times 
they had actually performed the operation. Coming Daylight, however, 
insisted that while there was really nothing to such an operation, she could 
never bring herself to perform it, nor would she allow anyone else to bleed her ; 
she could not stand the sight of blood. 

The aversion to the sight of blood and to self-mutilation was evidently deep- 
seated and showed itself in a marked manner early in her life. On one occasion a 
close relative was very ill. In such a situation it was expected that every member 
of the family would rally around and do whatever he could toward the recovery. 
Among the things that fell within the scope of activity for female relatives was 
that of vowing to sacrifice something valuable, including perhaps the blood 
from one's arm or a finger-joint, if the person recovered. At this particular 
time, Coming Daylight was a young child, and her grandmother decided that 
it would be appropriate for the little girl to offer that her finger-tip be removed 
if the relative regained his health. When it was suggested to her, Coming 
Daylight refused, even though her grandmother took after her with a stick. 
She actually ran away and wandered alone, until two nights later the relative 
died and an uncle finally found her. 

On another occasion in her early youth, too, she defied a convention con- 
nected with kinship by refusing to join in mourning for an uncle who had been 
killed in revenge for having instigated the murder of his brother's wife. When her 
grandmother upbraided Coming Daylight for not expressing grief in the tradi- 
tional manner, the latter defied her by saying: "I am not going to cry for that 
man. I don't know why you are crying for him. I have worked for that woman 
and she has fed me, and has even given me meat to bring home to you. I heard 

Individual Variation in Culture 89 

the shots and went later to see what happened, and there I saw her lying across 
the fire; her dress had burned off and her body was all shriveled. They weren't 
satisfied to kill her, but they burned her too! " She maintained her attitude and 
all the scolding from her relatives was of no avail. 

Before turning to her adult life, we may refer to another instance which 
illustrates Coming Daylight's sensitivity to the suffering of others. In the 
Sacrifice Lodge, which is the Gros Ventre version of the well-known Plains 
Sun Dance, one of the important features was the spectacular self-torture which 
the active participants underwent. Each one had a sliver of wood embedded in 
the flesh of his chest. To the wood was tied a line, the other end of which was 
fastened high on the center-pole of the lodge. The man, leaning back so that 
the line was taut, went back and forth until finally the sliver was torn from his 
flesh. Meanwhile the women cheered on their relatives by "rattling their 
tongues," singing war songs, and the like, by way of encouraging the men to be 
brave and see the thing through. Coming Daylight was quite a young child 
when she first witnessed this performance. She remembered vividly her reaction 
when one of the young men, in his exhaustion, went to the center-pole and, 
putting his arms around it, wept aloud. She was not able to stand it any longer 
and rushed home crying. Her grandmother was very angry with her for leaving 
in the middle of the performance, but all the little girl could say was: "Oh, I 
just pitied that young man," and she could not be induced to return to the dance 
lodge. We may add here that actually in later years she did not participate in 
the Sacrifice Lodge even so far as women were allowed to do so. 

The examples we have given are sufficient to show, I believe, that Coming 
Daylight had developed as a child a very strong set against violence, against 
painful and dangerous experiences. She refused medicine power from super- 
natural sources not only because it was dangerous but also because it involved a 
kind of physical activity which was repugnant to her. She refused to mutilate 
herself and was extremely sensitive to painful experiences in others. Her actual 
deviations from the patterns of accepted or approved behavior all tended in 
this same direction against violence. Her adult behavior likewise was consistent 
with this trend in her personality. 

In consonance with her feeling against physical violence Coming Daylight 
avoided as far as possible the rough-and-tumble play in which brother-in-law 
and sister-in-law were free to, and indeed expected to, indulge. Other women 
told with glee how they enjoyed "getting even" with their brothers-in-law by, 
for instance, pushing them when fully clothed into the river, or dumping 
bucketfuls of water over their heads when they least expected it, and so on; 
but Coming Daylight admitted without hesitation that she didn't like that sort 
of thing and never attempted to retaliate even when her brothers-in-law 
succeeded in playing jokes on her. Similarly while it was not unusual for 
women rivals to actively fight over a man, she refrained from such undignified 
behavior, although it must be admitted that she had enough provocation on at 
least one occasion of which she told me. She had just married a man who was 
described by others as something of a gay Lothario. A woman who had been 
trying to force her attentions on him was furious when she heard of the marriage. 
She rushed to the lodge and pulled Coming Daylight out feet first, yelling insults 
the while. When the latter regained her feet she made no attempt to hit back 
even though the other slapped her and pulled off an earring, tearing the lobe of 
the ear. Coming Daylight, however, bided her time and soon was able to make 
an opportunity for an exchange of words with the woman at a big social dance. 

90 Men and Cultures 

Her final rejoinder was such a witty and pointed one that everyone laughed 
heartily at her rival's expense. In this culture, of course, public ridicule was a 
far more effective retaliation than the biting and scratching that other women 
said frankly they would have indulged in when attacked. 

Expression of emotional excess was institutionalized for the Gros Ventres, as 
for the rest of the Plains, in the bereavement situation. Upon the death of a 
husband, son, or father, a woman was expected to start wailing as soon as she 
heard the news, have her hair cut off, discard good clothes for old ragged ones, 
gash her arms and legs, go to the hills to mourn and cry, resisting for a time the 
pleas of her relatives to return, and being watched lest she attempt suicide. 
Coming Daylight was only a young woman when she was first widowed and 
the mourning pattern was still in full vogue. It is certain from other evidence 
than Coming Dayling had a deep affection for this husband to whom she had 
been given as a child-bride and in whose kindly and indulgent treatment she 
had found a pleasant escape from the rigorous discipline of her grandmother. 
Nevertheless the public expression of her grief was minimal no abandonment 
for her. Although her sister was sent on the hills with her to keep watch over her 
in the usual way, Coming Daylight was easily persuaded to return shortly 
though she herself was proud of the fact that she had stayed out so long that she 
actually had got a frozen toe! In later years when all that was left of the 
ritual was the wailing out on the hills, she lost the son whom she herself, and 
everybody else, acknowledged as her favorite. She had not been on the hills 
very long when she experienced a significant dream, as follows. She was in a 
lodge at the rear of which was a big pile of tobacco mixture and a pipe. The 
owner of the lodge filled the pipe and approached her. She was frightened 
because she didn't smoke. The owner of the lodge however told her: "Look at 
these people/' She looked and saw many with their hair cut and their bodies 
bleeding from the gashes inflicted in grief. The man then told her: "That is in 
the past. Nowadays your only consolation is in smoking." So she accepted the 
pipe and, after smoking it, she was painted in ceremonial fashion by each of 
those other mourners. Then the owner of the lodge dismissed her saying: 
"Now, go home and don't ever go on the hills and mourn again. But always 
smoke if you want to." She went home right after this dream and when she told 
her husband of it he accepted it as valid and persuaded her sister to prepare for 
Coming Daylight her first real smoke. She maintained that the habit sub- 
sequently developed was actually a great comfort to her. 

The final area with which we shall be concerned here is the war complex a 
vital aspect of the old Plains culture. Gros Ventre women were allowed direct 
but limited participation in these activities in the sense that, while they would 
not join a party of men who were going on horse-raiding or revenge expeditions, 
if opportunity offered they might exhibit the same kind of bravery that a man 
should show and derive considerable status therefrom. For instance, if one of 
the enemy fell nearby, the women rushed out from camp to count coup, and to 
grab trophies with which to inaugurate the relationship known as "enemy- 
friends." Coming Daylight, however, was never one to indulge in this sport. 
She told of the one and to her extremely distasteful occasion on which her 
hand literally was forced. It seems that during a raid on their camp one of the 
enemy was shot and her husband scalped him. The victim was lying not far 
from her lodge and, as her husband dashed off to pursue the rest of the Assini- 
boine, he shouted for her to come out and see what was going on. Coming Day- 
light saw the man lying there, face down, covered with blood. He was not dead 

Individual Variation in Culture 91 

and, each time he attempted to get to his knees, one of two women who had 
already reached the scene would strike him on the buttocks with the flat side 
of a hatchet, making an insulting remark, and both would laugh. Coming Day- 
light hesitated at some distance from where the other two were gloating over 
the fallen enemy. When one of them, Woman Chief by name, saw her she ran to 
her saying: "Why are you standing so far off?" She grabbed her by the arm 
and pushed a big club into her hand, saying: "He is still alive you will do a 
great thing. Ahe:yc?!" Woman Chief forced Coming Daylight to strike him. 

While both Woman Chief and Coming Daylight closely approximated the 
ideal for women as faithful wives and efficient workers who gave generously of 
their material goods to and on behalf of their relatives, they seemingly differed 
in temperament. Woman Chief was known as a very brave woman, and 
Coming Daylight was frank in admitting she would never have dreamed of 
doing the kinds of things for which Woman Chief was renowned. One of the 
latter's exploits, for example, was as follows. The Gros Ventres and Crow were 
allies in an encounter with the Piegan. The battle was in full force, but one Crow 
had withdrawn and was sitting motionless astride his horse at some distance 
from the melee. Woman Chief, who in contrast to most women was always 
well mounted, dashed up to the Crow, grabbed his wand from his hand, and 
rode pellmell into the thick of the battle, counting coups right and left. So brave 
was she considered in having really risked her life that she was accorded the 
distinction, most unusual for a woman, of being led around the camp circle 
with the victorious warriors. Furthermore, so many people came to sing in 
front of her lodge that she and her relatives, to show their appreciation of the 
honor, were forced to give away as much property as though she were a man. 
Judging on the basis of other biographical material, there can be no doubt that 
she gloried in her reputation and took every opportunity to enhance it. She was 
one to whom the more violent aspects of Gros Ventre culture were exceedingly 

If we compare and contrast these two women we can say that insofar as the 
patterns of Dionysian configuration are the basis of the comparison, their 
behavior exhibits opposite extremes, the one going beyond the average in the 
direction of the configuration, the other running counter to and participating 
less than the average therein. Both might be termed deviant personalities in 
Honigman's sense of the term, 2 one overplaying and the other underplaying 
modal behavior in these selected patterns. Nevertheless, neither seems to have 
been a misfit insofar as each represents an extreme of socially accepted or 
sanctioned behavior within those patterns. If, for instance, Coming Daylight 
had been completely negative, and refused, say, to carry out at least the culturally 
defined minimum for mourning, had she, in addition to refusing to mutilate 
herself for the recovery of her ill relatives, neglected as an adult even the safe 
and less strenuous means to that end, she would have fallen without the pale, 
so to speak, and have been a misfit. If, at the opposite end of the scale, Woman 
Chief had gone further in the direction of masculinity, had she actually gone on 
raiding expeditions and herself stolen horses from the camp of the enemy, had 
she learned to shoot the bow and arrow or gun, or had she so much as adopted 
the vocabulary and/or pronunciation proper for males in the Gros Ventres 
language, she would have been carrying things too far. She, too, would have 
been dubbed a misfit. 

The Catholic University of America, 
Washington, D.C. 

92 Men and Cultures 


1. Ralph Linton, The Cultural Background of Personality, New York, 1945, p. 5L 

2. John J. Honigman, Culture and Personality, New York, 1954, pp. 211-212. 


Linton C. Freeman 

Whatever their particular science, scientists have a way of getting themselves 
classified according to some theoretical position. Thus, we call ourselves (or 
others call us) evolutionists, or neo-evolutionists, or structural-functionalists, 
or ideal-typologists, or some other theoretical name. And for the most part we 
accept these epithets even with pride for each of us is proud of his theoretical 
position; and we can always see the error in the other fellow's ways. The 
members of any theoretical "school," then, are quick to criticize the theoretical 
efforts of the "opposition." But this report will attempt to show that critics are 
often ready to reject whole theories in toto, merely because they cannot accept 
the assumptions implicit in their presentation. Various seemingly conflicting 
theories are, in certain fundamental aspects, congruent, or at least comple- 
mentary, but certainly not in basic conflict. 

Perhaps the best place to begin is by asking, "What is a scientific theory?" 
For the relatively undeveloped theories of the social sciences, we can answer 
that a theory is the expression of a set of hunches about which things go together 
in the world of our experience. Clearly, this is an over-simplified and highly 
informal definition of theory, but it will give us a point from which we can 
start our discussion. The important thing to note about this definition is that 
it includes not only hunches or hypotheses about the world, but their expression 
as well. And this is where the problems arise, for it is in the linguistic expression 
of a theoretical system that its assumptions can be found, and it is these assump- 
tions which lead to the conflict. 

Whitehead (1948, p. 25) has said that, "It often happens . . . that in criti- 
cizing a learned book of applied mathematics, or a memoir, one's whole 
trouble is with the first chapter, or even with the first page. For it is there, at 
the very outset, that the author will probably be found to slip in his assump- 
tions." Very often it is these assumptions, and not the substance of an author's 
work, with which his critics are at odds. But since a theory is designed primarily 
to organize knowledge, its hypotheses not its assumptions are its most 
significant elements. 

The assumptions which color the expression of a theory are of two sorts. In 
the first place, the statement of a theory reflects the methodological assumptions 
of its author. It may be stated, for example, in the language of functionalism, 
or the jargon of causality, or the symbolic notation of mathematics. Thus, one 
biologist might say that the operation of the heart is functional for the main- 
tenance of human life. Or another, that stoppage of the heart causes death. And 
a third might state the same proposition : 

(AP)[L(P) = 

which can be read, "For any person, he is a living person if, and only if, he is 
a person with an operating heart." Each of our biologists is making the same 
assertion about an empirical covariation, but their methodological assumptions 

94 Men and Cultures 

and hence their languages differ; and we may get the impression that they are 
saying quite different things. 

Secondly, the theories of a given time and place are stated in such a fashion 
that they reflect the Weltanschauung the basic philosophy of the culture in 
which they emerge. Thus, Rousseau and Morgan may introduce similar 
hypotheses about the interrelationships among variables in the empirical 
world, but these will be placed in very different evaluative settings. Rousseau 
will tell the tale of the vast degeneration of mankind while Morgan will suggest 
man's colossal progress. So again, the illusion is created that entirely different 
schemes are being presented. 

Typically, members of one theoretical "school" are ready to reject the 
theories of another on the basis of their assumptions alone, without ever a 
glance at their hypotheses. Today, for example, we find ourselves in a cultural 
setting in which science is, in and of itself, a Good Thing. We are enamoured 
of the rational-empirical model, and we are quick to reject theoretical schemes 
which smack of any other basic philosophy. Any theory which includes a sug- 
gestion of evaluative criteria is immediately suspect. So we build our theories 
around an attempt to avoid evaluation and condemn our more value-ridden 

Less consensus, however, exists with reference to methodological assumptions. 
For today we can still find evolutionists like White (1949) and Child (1951), 
who view scientific anthropology as a search for diachronic relationships, 
structural-functionalists like Bennett (1949) and Levy (1952), who view 
scientific anthropology as a search for synchronic relationships, and culture 
historians like Mead (1953), who try to avoid viewing scientific anthropology 
at all. It is among proponents of these three schools of thought that conflicts in 
theory exist. Such conflicts, however, are centered around methodological 
assumptions ; let us glance briefly at some of their hypotheses and see to what 
extent real differences in theory do obtain. 

To illustrate evolutionism we shall look to the theory of E. B. Tylor. In 
Tylor's work we find evolutionism in its purest form; it includes not only the 
search for diachronic relationships, but the use of evaluative criteria as well. 
Tyler lived and wrote in a period and place where the dominant theme of the 
culture was progress. People looked about them at the technological advance- 
ment, the political enlightenment, the economic expansion and they were 
convinced that they lived in the Best of All Possible Worlds and that it was 
getting better day by day. A general spirit of social and spiritual improvement 
was in the air. And Tylor was swept up in the current. So his interest in and 
thoughts concerning man's social life were built around the concept of evolution. 
y Tylor (1921) used the concept of " evolutionary stages of human life" to 
organize his thinking about society. He defined three such stages: savage, 
barbaric, and civilized. The savage stage is characterized by small settlements, 
a hunting and gathering economy, and simple wood, stone, or bone tools. 
When the members of a society "rise" into the barbaric stage they develop 
agriculture or herding. In this stage there are settled villages, governmental 
organizations, and the beginnings of metal craft. Civilized life begins with 
writing. It includes extensive trade with other societies, bilateral reckoning 
of descent, formalization of government and jurisprudence, specialization, and 
the development of social classes. 

Thus, in proposing these three stages in the development of civilization, 
Tylor outlined several criteria characteristic of each stage. Some character- 

Conflict and Congruence in Anthropological Theory 95 

istics which appear at earlier stages (say small settlements) disappear and are 
replaced by others (settled villages) at later stages, while others are cumulative 
that is, they emerge at a given level of development and continue to appear 
at each successive level (metal craft appears at the barbaric stage and continues 
on into civilization) . Thus, to rid this scheme of its evaluative connotations, we 
find that Tylor was talking of variables when he described his characteristics. 
For example, the variable occupational specialization has two values; (1) no 
specialization, and (2) specialization. Just so, settlement pattern as a variable 
has three values: (1) small bands or hamlets, (2) settled villages, and (3) urban 
centers or cities. And furthermore, if we reinterpret Tylor's stress upon evolu- 
tionary stages, we find that he has suggested a characteristic relationship among 
his variables. He has proposed, for example, that a change in settlement pattern 
will be accompanied by a change in occupational specialization that, in fact, 
settlement pattern and occupational specialization vary together, and that they 
are correlated with all the other variables: tool types, social organization, 
subsistence economy, and the like. In short, Tylor has proposed a specific 
interrelationship among a set of societal variables. 

The general viewpoint of the functionalists was summarized by Malinowski 
(1944) when he defined culture as ". . . an integral in which the various ele- 
ments are interdependent." The basic hypothesis here is that, given the presence 
of a particular element in a society or culture, certain other elements will also 
be present. Bennett and Tumin (1949) specify this hypothesis by suggesting 
that a certain form of economic structure (e.g., industrial economy) will be 
associated with a certain form of social organization (e.g., lack of strong 
familism). They assert that a certain population size will be associated with a 
certain form of economic structure, and a certain amount of trade with a certain 
social structure. And Levy (1952) suggests further that the amount of occupa- 
tional stratification will be associated with the complexity of the society, and 
the amount of specialization with the presence of classes. 

The approach of the structural- functionalists, then, is synchronic. Instead of 
looking for stages in the "progress" of a society, they seek to find associations 
among cultural elements at a given time. Thus, they hypothesize that a society 
with a large population will have an industrial economy, and conversely, one 
with a small population will probably lack industry. So again, they are des- 
cribing variables, and again they are suggesting association among these 

We have seen that both the evolutionists and the structural-functionalists 
propose that a set of societal variables are interrelated. Furthermore, these 
are, for the most part, the selfsame variables. Both, for example, propose that 
size, specialization, social organization, economic structure, amount of trade, 
and the like are associated. Their difference, then, rests in the diachrorvic 
approach of the evolutionists versus the synchronic view of the Structural- 
functionalists. But how different are these approaches? If, as the evolutionists 
propose, one "stage" of society follows another, the elements at any given 
level must change together into those typical of the next level. Hence, these 
elements are interdependent, and the functionalists are correct. And if, on the 
other hand, certain elements in a culture or society imply others, as the struc- 
tural functionalists would have us believe, then any change must involve the 
transformation from one functionally interrelated set to another. This implies 
an ordered series of types of society and, therefore, the evolutionists are right. 
Each of these schemes, then, implies the other; the structural-functionalists 

96 Men and Cultures 

stress patterns, and the evolutionists stress change, but they are both talking 
about the same thing : a set of socio-cultural variables which vary together 
an interrelated set of cultural characteristics. So, fundamentally, when it conies 
to their hypotheses, there is no conflict between these two theories, there is only 

The work of the culture historians has, for the most part, stressed differences 
rather than similarities among cultures. Clearly, this approach is not con- 
gruent with the two just described. But even the works of such noted propo- 
nents of the historical approach as Kroeber and Lowie are not entirely free 
from hypotheses about regularities among cultures. Thus, Kroeber (1942) has 
suggested "... that among primitive peoples society is structured primarily on 
the basis of kinship," while "... successful technological and political develop- 
ments . . . characterize the more complex civilizations." And Lowie's book 
(1940) abounds with distinctions drawn between "primitive" and "civilized" 
societies. He has summarized these distinctions by saying that: 

"... certain cultural traits appear to be organically linked, so that one of 
them renders the presence of another more probable or, on the contrary, 
may tend to exclude it. In some instances the nature of the correlation is 
clear to us; in others we merely recognize its reality and suspect that some 
intermediate link eludes us. Thus we readily see why pigs do not go with 
pastoral nomadism and why pottery accompanies a sedentary life." (Lowie, 
1940; p. 384.) 

Thus, the culture historians are describing the same association among the 
same variables as did the evolutionists and the structural-functionalists. In this 
case, the emphasis is upon the unique in a given culture, but comparisons are 
made and hypotheses concerning regularities are always just beneath the sur- 
face. All of these schools, the evolutionists, the structural-functionalists, and the 
culture historians are expressing the same hypotheses in different linguistic 
guises. Their methodological assumptions differ, but when we look to their 
hypotheses their conflict disappears they become congruent a single theory 
of socio-cultural form and process. 

Syracuse University, 
Syracuse, New York. 


Bennett, John W., and Melvin M. Tumin 

1949. Social Life, Structure and Function. New York, Alfred A. Knopf. 
Childe, V. Gordon 

1951. Social Evolution. London and New York, H. Schuman. 
Kroeber, A. L. 

1942. "The Societies of Primitive Man." In his The Nature of Culture. Chicago, 

University of Chicago Press. 
Levy, Marion J. 

1952. The Structure of Society. Princeton, Princeton University Press. 
Lowie, Robert H. 

1940. An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. New ed. New York, Rinehart and Co. 
Malinowski, Bronislaw 

1944. A Scientific Theory of Culture and Other Essays. Chapel Hill, University of North 
Carolina Press. 

Conflict and Congruence in Anthropological Theory 97 

Mead, Margaret, and Nicolas Galas 

1953. Primitive Heritage. New York, Random House. 
Tylor, Edward B. 

1921. Anthropology. New York and London, D. Appleton and Co. 
White, Leslie A. 

1949. The Science of Culture. New York, Farrar, Straus. 
Whitehead, Alfred North 

1948. Science and the Modem World. New York, A Mentor Book. 


Walter Goldschmidt 

In this essay I wish to defend the proposition that as it pleases me to put it 
cultures differ more than people. By which I mean that the varieties of cultures 
on the earth offer a far greater range of behavior characteristics than will be 
found if we examine the actual behavior of the peoples who possess or profess 
these cultures. After defining and illustrating what I mean by this statement, 
I will develop the implications that I believe it has for anthropological theory 
and the relation between the anthropological enterprise and the sociological. 

Let me begin by reminding you that anthropology was once the science of 
custom. The very word has an old-fashioned ring in these days of demography 
and ecology and Rorschach. Yet I believe that we have neither moved so far 
from the science of custom nor that we should move so far from the science of 
custom as these current events suggest. In an earlier era, we conscientiously 
studied the couvade, the avunculate, bride capture, etc., etc. We clustered them 
into complexes, we distributed them over the face of the earth and occasionally 
we psychologized about them. When we had gathered together all the customs 
of a people, we had its culture. Thus, reasonably enough, Tylor's definition of 
culture was fundamentally a listing. Little wonder that in those days culture 
was a product of history and could be thought of as a thing of shreds and 
patches. (Parenthetically, Lowie's figure of speech was not so anti-functional 
as it has been considered. It begged the question of whether the garment fits, 
and only made not unreasonable assumptions about its provenience.) 

As time went on, anthropology more and more became a science of culture 
indeed, culture has become the watchword of our discipline. We need not here 
go over the grounds so ably cultivated by Kroeber and Kluckhohn and discuss 
the history and variety of that concept. The fact is that we remain the science of 
culture and, I believe, in the particular way in which I intend to use this word : 
namely, that culture is the integrated the functional presentation of custom. 

The basic grist of the anthropological mill is the ethnography : the description 
of the life-ways of the people, the description of a culture or that sector of it 
which the ethnographer was willing and able to record. The ethnography is 
characteristically a description of normative behavior. Picking Radcliffe- 
Brown 1 from my shelf and opening it more or less at random, I read : " A belief 
about the moon which is found in all the tribes, ... is that he will be very angry 
if there is any fire . . ." There is no question whether every Andamanese believes 
this or not. Or again: "If a death occurs, the camp is deserted for several 
months and a new one is occupied." Here there are no discussions of frequencies, 
other than the implications embodied in a "generally," an "often," an 
"occasionally" or sometimes an uncalculated "on the average." My point is 
this the ethnographer is describing the expectable, and not the actual. He is 
not counting occurrences or describing individual behavior. We may say that 
he is describing the normative and not the statistical norm. 

Even when the case method is used, it is generally assumed that the given 
case is "typical" of a culture or a segment of it. Such a study as Max Gluck- 
man's on Barotse legal procedure, 2 careful as it is to build case upon case, 

Culture and Human Behavior 99 

nevertheless ends up with the normative, rather than with actual behavior. 
Consider, for instance, his emphasis upon the reasonable man as viewed by the 
Barotse. This concept of reasonableness is a cultural a normative assumption. 
(Perhaps I should not accuse a British social anthropologist of describing culture, 
but it seems to me that this is actually the case.) 

The anthropologist answers this statement by the assertion that the units he 
characteristically studies, primitive communities, are generally so homogeneous 
that it is unnecessary to make distinctions. This may indeed be the case but the 
important point is that the anthropologist does not really worry about the 
matter until he is challenged. He is not, when engaged in his more usual forms 
of enterprise, concerned with the occurrences. And rightly, I believe, if we 
make some assumptions about the nature of the anthropological endeavor. 

Let us take a simple example. Anthropologists have long used sesquipedalian 
words to distinguish certain types of marriage. A society is polygynous, not when 
all men have more than one wife or when 51 percent of the men have more than 
one wife, but when polygyny is a recognized or condoned form of marriage. 
Perhaps when only the chief has more than one wife, the anthropologist is uneasy 
if he calls the society polygynous, but beyond this he is unconcerned with 
proportions unless he has set himself some special problem. To this the anthro- 
pologist will counter that he is really dealing with the rules and the regulations, 
the established beliefs, perhaps the ideal practices. In this response the anthro- 
pologist is, of course, on safer ground. Indeed, I think he is right. He is talking 
about the rules of the game, the cultural assumptions, and the patterns of 
expectability. He is not talking about human behavior at all, except in so far 
as the behavior of the people he is describing conforms to the customs they 

To be sure, ethnographic practice frequently makes this distinction in the 
actual field report. For example, Fried 3 has explicitly examined the divergence 
between the normative and the actual behavior, showing how culture operates 
despite continuous breaches of custom and others have faced the problem in 
the field. But the distinction escapes the theorist. Kroeber and Kluckhohn do 
not develop the distinction, and say very little about actual behavior at all. 
Some of their definitions are normative in orientation, none are explicitly 
behavioral, and in their final summing up they say "culture consists of patterns 
. . . of and for behavior. . . ." 4 To them the distinction remains without meaning 
passed off in three short words. 

What we arc saying therefore is that the science of anthropology is a science 
of the normative. We sometimes speak of ideal culture, but the phrase is mis- 
leading, partly because of its popular connotations with respect to positive 
valuation, but more so because it implies that there is some other kind of culture. 
That "other kind of culture " is the actual daily patterns of behavior engaged in 
by a population and is sometimes referred to as "real culture. 5 ' 5 But it is our 
thesis that this is not properly considered culture at all rather, it is behavior. 
We may state the proposition this way: Culture is the "rules of the game." 
The rules are arbitrary and restrictive. The game is not always played according 
to the rules. What people do therefore varies from the rules, from culture. 

Perhaps only a lexicographer has the right to say that a word means one 
thing and not another; but what is important is to recognize that two very 
different kinds of phenomena tend to be subsumed under one term. Further- 
more, the history and the usage of the word "culture" place it more clearly 
with the normative, with the rules-of-the-game aspect than with the actual 

100 Men and Cultures 

behavior pattern. As indicated, the two may coincide in this or that instance, 
but it is harder to find examples than you might think. 

If we may accept this distinction as the valid and important one I think it is, 
we may address the central proposition of this paper: that cultures vary more 
than behavior. Two points must first be considered. 

First, while the basic data of the anthropological discipline constitute the 
ethnography, the science of anthropology rests upon comparison the study of 
variation between people, the spatial and temporal occurrence of culture, 
behavior, or some aspect of these. In anthropology this comparative approach 
(and it is implicit in such a study as that of Alor, as well as explicit in most 
theoretical analyses) is generally a study in comparative culture. We study the 
distribution of the couvade, without counting the men who lie in ; we compare 
with Francis Hsu the patterns of China and America without recourse to 
statistics; we analyze kinship behavior without counting the actual frequency 
of cross-cousin marriage in each "case" where it occurs. 

Second, it is necessary to examine the relation between culture and the 
human potential. (We substitute this phrase for " human nature" since it is 
part of human nature to subscribe to culture.) It is our belief and one generally 
voiced that culture is restrictive on human behavior. Language exemplifies 
this in a simple way. We all know that the human organism has the potentiality 
for expressing and distinguishing an almost infinite number of sounds. We 
know also that culture limits the regular use of these sounds, frequently 
rendering the individual helpless in early efforts to articulate others or to 
disciminate between some. It is in this sense that we view culture as restrictive 
(carrying no necessary connotation of being repressive) . The same may be said 
for those aspects of culture which relate to the satisfaction of appetites. Food 
tabus and tastes limit the means of satisfying hunger; sexual regulations limit 
the possibilities of attaining libidinal gratification. Again this is true for beliefs 
and attitudes. It is true also for those more generalized aspects of cultural be- 
havior: aggression, competitiveness, industriousness, cooperativeness, self- 
immolation, and the other qualities which have been ascribed to one people or 
another. We may say that narrow sectors of the broad arc of human potentialities 
in these various attributes are selected as culturally acceptable. Man has the 
capacity for competition and for cooperation, but here a culture focuses on the 
one, there upon the other. Man has the capacity for repose and for industrious- 
ness, but there it fixes on the former, here upon the latter. 

Behavior, however, is different from culture. It slops over the narrow range. 
That is, members do not conform to the normative. Indeed, they may actually 
reject it and go to an opposite extreme in an act of defiance, or go to an alternate 
pattern, as when a Plains Indian become transvestite. 

If we continue to think of that arc and the narrow sectors of cultural norms, 
we realize that any position on the dial may be selected, from one extreme to the 
other. Indeed, it seems as if the culture tends often to fix on extremes, though I 
sometimes suspect that it is the ethnographer who fixes on the extreme and not 
the culture. There is also a tendency among us to talk more about such extreme 
cultures as the Kwakiutl, Eskimo, or Arunta, than about the more bland 
ones, such as the Tswana or Alaskan Athapaskans. (We have not entirely 
dissipated what one of my colleagues calls the " Oh-how-quaint School of 
Anthropology" in our literary emphasis upon the unusual.) 

Nonetheless, when we talk about degrees of difference between cultures, we 
are talking about the extreme range from celibacy to licentiousness, from 

Culture and Human Behavior 101 

industriousness to slovenliness, etc. (Not all cultural variations can be placed 
on a lineal scale, but the same principle applies.) Such extremes can be held 
as cultural norms; they cannot, however, be sustained as behavioral attributes. 

Let me illustrate with the most famous case of cultural extremes in the 
ethnological literature: the Kwakiutl and Pueblos as described by Benedict. 
A recent paper on the amiable side of Kwakiutl life 6 makes us aware that not 
all Northwest Coast behavior is Dionysian, and makes us feel, even, that the 
Kwakiutl had the capacity to lampoon their own cultural urges. The obverse of 
the coin is also exemplified. This point was most ably made years ago by 
Li An-che 7 who queried some of the assumptions of Benedict and others. 
But I prefer a story told me by John Adair. While watching a number of Pueblo 
children at school, he overheard their conversation. They were discussing their 
handicrafts, and each seemed to be outdoing the other in his assertions that his 
own work was of no account and inferior to that of his neighbor. It was clear 
that the self-abnegation so heavily demanded by their culture took on a kind 
of competitive aspect, that the children were outstripping each other in their 
abject denial of their own proficiency. 

It is in this sense, then, that the behavior patterns of different people with 
different normative cultures are not nearly so different as the ethnographer has 
made out. It seems to me we may take either of two positions. The first would be 
that the enthnographer has tended to misrepresent the character of the culture. 
The other, and the one to which I subscribe, is that the culture as a normative 
system does in fact differ as described, but that people everywhere fail to live up 
to their own norms whether for good or evil and that, therefore, the be- 
havioral modes tend toward the center. 

This distinction seems to me of particular importance in the light of modern 
types of anthropological inquiry, in the light of anthropology as a science of 
culture, as distinct from anthropology as a science of custom. We have already 
made reference to Benedict's Patterns of Culture. It seems to me that the important 
point with respect to this work, as with her Chrysanthemum and the Sword, is that 
Benedict was talking about culture in the normative sense. Perhaps she indulged 
in more literary license than circumstances justify, but certainly what she has 
to say that is valid applies to culture as I have used it in this paper. Indeed, the 
anthropological effort to make some kind of analysis of Western culture fits the 
picture quite well. The endeavors by Mead and Gorer must be seen in actuality 
to be presentations of the normative culture and not of the norms of behavior 
of the population. For instance, when Margaret Mead speaks of Americans as 
"all being third generation," she is engaging in a literary hyperbole with no 
statistical validity. She is or at least she may be making a statement with 
generic validity about urban, middle-class American culture, while at the same 
time she makes the demographer shudder. 

Another theoretical point which emerges when we examine the distinction 
between the cultural normative and the statistical norm is that it allows us to 
separate the science of anthropology and the science of sociology on a more 
reasonable basis. For just as the anthropologist has given priority to the cultural, 
the sociologist has directed his attention to the behavior of the individual. 
Whereas Brown will say that the Andamanese believe or do a certain thing, the 
sociologist will count and proportion the individual responses to a questionnaire 
or examine the frequency of divorce. To be sure, the anthropologists with their 
relatively homogeneous communities neither can nor need to be so much con- 
cerned with statistical problems and behavior differentials, while the sociologist 

102 Men and Cultures 

dealing with large and complex social entities is naturally drawn to making 
distinctions within his populations, with their heterogeneous cultural background, 
by counting and proportioning. Yet, in this natural basis for the distinction 
between the two disciplines, there is a tendency to forget that the basic subject 
of the discourse is in fact a different one and that culture and behavior are 
different things. 

It is also true that a generation of institutional support for interdisciplinary 
research and the growth of combined departments and joint appointments has 
tended to obscure the actual difference on this score. Thus it is that the work of 
Lloyd Warner appears to be sociological rather than anthropological, while 
Robert and Helen Lynd in their first study of Middletown tend to present the 
cultural norms. We are, it might be said, speaking of the normative aspects of 
the discipline and not of the actual behavior of each anthropologist and socio- 
logist. The point is not to preserve some kind of false distinction but rather to 
make explicit the manifest differences in the subject of inquiry. For a failure to 
appreciate this distinction often leads to misunderstanding and rejection. 

From what I have already said, it may be presumed that I feel that the study 
of the normative is somehow less respectable or less rewarding than the study of 
actual behavior. If I have left this impression, it is a false one. It would be 
like saying that the study of matter is more legitimate or better than the study 
of energy. Both enterprises are necessary and legitimate. 

Furthermore, both are equally "real." If I were to cast aspersions at all in 
this paper and that is not my intent it would be toward the "hard" scholars 
who insist on making observations of behavior on the assumption that they are 
studying reality, and who decry the study of cultural norms as being things of the 
imagination. The fact is that norms are very real. It has been twenty years since 
an informant described to me the workings of a secret society in a defunct tribal 
culture of California Indians. I never discovered whether the things he told me 
actually did take place, but it was quite clear to me that that was beside the 
point. The fact that he and members of his society believed them to take place 
was a social fact of primary importance; it influenced the behavior of the 
members of the tribe. It is in this sense too that the study of national character 
has validity and importance, even though it can be shown with great ease that 
the population in the nation in question does not universally conform to the 
pattern of cultural expectations. 

There is another aspect of this distinction between the normative and the 
characteristic in behavior: it enables us to study the relationship between the 
two. This is a very important arena of inquiry which has received growing 
attention by students in the field. We have already suggested that we can compare 
two cultures of very different normative behavior and show the similarities in 
actuality. It is equally important to understand the internal stress between 
behavior and norms. I think something of the kind was in the mind of Robert 
Lynd 8 when he set forth conflicting values in our own culture, for most of these 
can be resolved between cultural ideals and recognized reality. Modern studies 
of kinship and marital practices frequently analyze and treat with this difference ; 
its importance for cultural change, for internal social stress, and for psycho- 
logical tensions seems to me to be obvious. 

Perhaps, if we gather sufficient information on the relationship between the 
normative and the behavioral, we will be able to triangulate on the knottiest 
problem in the science of man: human nature. Earlier we avoided this phrase, 
for human nature is never free of cultural influences. But we cannot escape the 

Culture and Human Behavior 103 

interest in man's natural tendencies. If our distinction is valid, however, we 
are afforded a means of showing what these natural tendencies are and with 
which culture endeavors to cope. Is man "naturally" competitive, or are 
Kropotkin and his more recent disciples right in saying such is alien to his basic 
nature? Enough cases of cultural self-abnegation together with latent competi- 
tiveness as both Li An-che and the story from Adair suggest might give us a 
better understanding of the natural in human nature. That natural element is 
obscured by cultural dictates, but there is reason to believe that it asserts itself 
when the culture demands too extreme or too narrow a pattern of behavior. 

It has been my central contention that there has been a confusion between 
culture and behavior that has resulted from the change in the character of the 
anthropological enterprise. Armed as we were with the concept of culture, we 
moved into areas of inquiry which required an understanding of frequency of 
occurrence of actual behavior. The failure to conceptualize the distinction 
between the two and to recognize the legitimacy of each has resulted in con- 
fusions leading to theoretical error. The nature of human activity in the context 
of the biological drives and the environmental determinants and the charac- 
teristic forces of social life means that actual behavior will tend to meet these 
needs, that it will tend to breach the bonds of restriction that culture endeavors 
to impose upon it. Therefore, I close as I began by asserting that culture as a 
systematic set of norms for behavior, will show greater variation as one goes 
from one place on the earth to another than will the actual normal practices 
of the populations who profess these different cultures. 

University of California, 
Los Angeles, California. 


An-che, Li 

1937. Zufii: Some Observations and Queries. American Anthropologist, 39 : 62-76. 
Benedict, Ruth 

1946. Patterns of Culture. New York, Penguin Books. 

1946. The Chrysanthemum and the Sword. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Go. 
Brown, A. R. Radclifie 

1922. The Andaman Islanders. Glencoe, 111., The Free Press. (1948 ed.) 
Codere, Helen 

1956. The Amiable Side of Kwakiutl Life. American Anthropologist, 58 : (2), 334-35 1 . 
Fried, Jacob 

1953. The Relation of Ideal Norms to Actual Behavior in Tarahumara Society. 

Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, 9: (3) 286-295. 
Gluckman, Max 

1955. The Judicial Process among the Barotse of Northern Rhodesia. Glencoe, 111., The 

Free Press. 
Kroeber, A. L., and Clyde Kluckhohn 

1952. Culture, A Critical Reiiew of Concepts and Definitions, Papers of the Peabody 
Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology. Cambridge, Mass. 
Harvard University. 
Linton, Ralph 

1945. The Cultural Background of Personality. New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc. 
Lynd Robert 

1939. Knowledge for What? Princeton, Princeton University Press. 
Mead, Margaret 

1942. And Keep Your Powder Dry. New York, William Morrow & Co. 

104 Men and Cultures 


1 . A. R. Radcliffe-Brown, The Andaman Islands. 

2. Max Gluckman, Legal Procedure of the Barotse. 

3. Jacob Fried, "The Relation of Ideal Norms to Actual Behavior in Tarahumare 

4. Kroeber and Kluckhohn, 1952 : 181. Italics supplied. We are placing emphasis on 
the point at issue, without questioning that culture has historical, psychological, socio- 
logical and biological dimensions. We would not want it to be said that we place the 
emphasis upon norms as distinct from, say, the historical, since these are not contrastive 

5. Linton (1945 : 43 ff.) uses this term and distinguishes it from cultural constructs 
(both the natives' and the ethnographer's). But he treats the construct as something 
unreal, and fails, to my way of thinking, to use the difference he has expressed. 

6. Helen Godere, The Amiable Side of Kwakiutl Life. 

7. Li An-che, Zufii : Some Observations and Queries. 

8. Robert Lynd, Knowledge for What? pp. 60-63. 


H. D. Gunn 

This paper was envisioned as a modest sort of reckoning up ; it was desired in 
effect to establish at least roughly where anthropologists had arrived at in the 
sector of art specifically. It was understood clearly from the outset, however, 
that any such study would have important implications along a very broad 
front, so to speak; it is doubtless a truism that our understanding of culture as 
a whole, of society as a whole, is no more advanced than our understanding of 
the most obscure element, or sector, of the one and the other, but it is 
a point not always explicitly recognized by anthropological writers, un- 

A period spent by the writer in West Africa following professional training 
in effect prompted this investigation into the field of art. In Nigeria specifically, 
the writer became aware of behavioral and artifactuai traits either entirely 
unfamiliar, not reported in the literature, not represented in museum displays 
from any part of the world, or unfamiliar largely because of their unfamiliar, 
their living, context, traits which became meaningful, however, in the fullest 
sense, only when classified as art. The question immediately presented itself, 
naturally, whether anthropologists had not been too culture-bound with 
respect to the category art to do justice either to the category or to a consider- 
able part, perhaps, of the world's peoples, and thereafter the question, to what 
extent our means of dealing with our understanding of culture as a whole 
may have been restricted, as it were, by this failure. 

The literature dealing with the subject of art was accordingly consulted, 
primarily, be it understood, that of the past thirty years, or since the publication 
of what one reviewer has characterized as "the classic and also the only book- 
length analysis of primitive art as a whole" (Nelson, 1954), that is, Boas's 
Primitive Art (1927). First of all, works of a theoretical character dealing with 
art as a part of culture in the anthropological sense, by professing anthro- 
pologists, but also, in order to gauge the accomplishment of anthropologists 
in this period, the published works of artists, including teachers of art, of art- 
critics, -historians, and -philosophers, chiefly the works of U.S. writers, and 
above all anthropological text-books, because of their crucial position with 
respect to the development of the discipline and of its various ramifications, but 
also the works of writers of various other nationalities. Then on to descriptive 
works, monographs dealing with regional art, those dealing with the art of 
socio-cultural strata (primitive art, folk art), and, finally, ethnographic mono- 
graphs dealing with the art of individual societies more or less in context. So 
substantial did this literature prove to be that sampling without apology, 
but with considerable regret was unavoidable in the limited time avail- 

It should be noted here that, in addition, occasional reference was made to 
museum displays in the course of this study, and to exhibition catalogs col- 
lected here and abroad over a period of some years. 

106 Men and Cultures 

The results of this pleasurable regimen can be stated briefly. Probably in no 
other field have anthropologists contributed so little, notwithstanding para- 
graph upon paragraph, page upon page, chapter upon chapter, and a goodly 
number of volumes by anthropologists dealing with art; and in no other do 
they appear to be more complacent with their achievement. In fact, quite as 
much, if not more, insight into the realm of art specifically and into the relation- 
ship between art and the rest of culture can be gained from pocket editions of 
the writings of such critics, historians and philosophers as Cassirer (1953), 
Langer (1948), Read (1949, 1955), and Talbot Rice (1939), though from the 
narrowly anthropological point of view these writers have painful limitations, 
at times, and their works are rarely immediately useful, as it were. 

As for the anthropologists, those of the United States on the whole have been 
prone to begin any discussion of art with a definition of the term, concerned as 
it were explicitly to establish a universal category ; those of other nationalities 
appear somewhat more inclined to assume that their readers know what they 
mean by art. The two procedures are, however, by no means so divergent as at 
first glance they might appear: U.S. anthropologists in fact conform to the 
definition of art offered by standard dictionaries of English, while, so far as 
anyone can tell, others have merely taken for granted widely current defini- 
tions of the equivalent term in their respective languages art y arte, Kunst, and 
so on. 

Archaeologists, it may be noted in passing, universally have failed, in their 
interpretive essays, to define art, but by strong implication they subscribe to a 
rather narrower definition than do most general anthropologists even when 
dealing with the same (particularly prehistoric) materials. Thus Bunzel 
explicitly pushes the dawn of art back to the middle of the Paleolithic, pre- 
sumably with the retouched Acheulean core-biface tool in mind (1938, p. 543), 
which Weltfish simply labels sculpture (1953, pp. 19-20, 225); on the other 
hand, Braidwood, like Gordon Childe, is reluctant to go beyond the figurines 
of the Aurignacian, searching for the beginnings of art (Braidwood, 1951, p. 74; 
Gordon Ghilde, 1942, pp. 42-3). 

In the U.S., the definition of art proposed by Boas gained immediate accep- 
tance among anthropologists, and with some refinement over the years has been 
repeated by virtually every anthropologist touching upon the subject. Boas 
was somewhat discursive in his definition, and not entirely explicit, but it 
would appear that the essence of his definition transpires from the following 
passage : 

Rhythmical movements of the body or of objects, forms that appeal to the 
eye, sequences of tones and forms of speech which please the ear, produce 
artistic effects. *** We may also speak of impressions that appeal to the senses 
of smell, taste and touch. A composition of scents, a gastronomical repast 
may be called works of art provided they excite pleasurable sensations. *** 
When the technical treatment has attained a certain standard of excellence, 
when the control of the processes involved is such that certain typical forms 
are produced, we call the process an art, and however simple the forms may 
be, they may be judged from the point of view of formal perfection; industrial 
pursuits such as cutting, carving, moulding, weaving, as well as singing, 
dancing and cooking are capable of attaining technical excellence and fixed 
forms (Boas, 1927, reprinted 1955, p. 10). 

Anthropology and Art 107 

This definition was not significantly altered by Boas when three years later 
he came again to the subject of art (Boas, 1930, pp. 89-93), and has been 
paraphrased, in effect, by a whole generation of writers, including Bunzel 
( 1 938, passim), Jacobs and Stern (1947, pp. 211-15), and, most recently, Beals 
and Hoijer (1953, pp. 538-41, and 567-8), but perhaps never in more explicit 
terms than by Herskovits (1948, pp. 378-80), who may be allowed to speak for 

... In the . . . societies of Euroamerican culture . . ., we are . . . confronted 
with the effect of compartmentalizatioii. ... By drawing definitions too 
finely, we tend to shut out many significant manifestations of a phenomenon. 
*** j n tne ana iy s j s of art, when we differentiate "pure" from "applied" 
art, we . . . restrict the play of our aesthetic appreciation. *** In the widest 
sense, . . . art is to be thought of as any embellishment of ordinary living that is 
achieved with competence and has describable form. * * * ... Any manifestation of 
the impulse to ... heighten the pleasure of any phase of living that is so 
recognized by a people, must be accepted by the student of culture as 
aesthetically valid, and is, in consequence, to be given the designation "art." 

The meanings of words manifestly change. It may accordingly be suspected 
that ideas attributed to any author writing in the past, even, sometimes, the 
very recent past, comprise some of the most genuinely revolutionary innova- 
tions of which mankind is capable. However by this definition, as originally 
set down by Boas, and as embellished to borrow Herskovits' term, used most 
notably, perhaps, by both Bunzel (1929, p. 1) and Lowie (1934, p. 177) before 
him by his followers, it would appear necessary to conclude that every human 
activity is in fact to some degree an art, a conclusion which one may draw 
equally from the dictionaries ! 


What traits, then, behavioral and artifactual, are seriously treated as art 
by anthropologists? In fact, there is a troubling discrepancy between the 
accepted definition and the very narrow range of activities which anthro- 
pologists will assign to the category and analyze as art. Boas, indeed, suggests 
that a perfume or a meal may qualify as a work of art, but in his alleged analysis 
of "primitive art as a whole" he stops short on the one hand with what may 
be lumped together as the graphic and plastic arts, and, on the other, with 
literature, music and dance in proportions, it may be noted, subject before 
now to sharp criticism. The same can be said of the vast majority of writers on 
the subject, including virtually every author of a monograph including the 
term art in its title; in practice, U.S. anthropologists have stood shoulder to 
shoulder with their colleagues abroad, culture-bound, even, it may be sug- 
gested, "class "-bound, so that the rather stinging pronouncement by the late, 
sincerely lamented Professor Griaule, in a work promisingly entitled Arts de 
VAfrique noire , may be taken as typical : 

Bien entendu 9 quand nous parlerons de Vart noir, nous serons obliges de restreindre 
singulierement le champ de nos observations. Dans le present travail nous le limiterons 
a une certaine espece de produits materiels, notamment au masque, a la statuaire et a 
des aspects particuliers des activites qu'ils supposent (peintures rupestres, danse y cos- 
me'tique). Nous laissons deliberement de cfai une masse enorme de manifestations et de 
preoccupations esthetiques (1947, p. 10). 

108 Men and Cultures 

For reasons of pure expediency, the reader is left hopelessly to suppose. No 
writer canvassed in the course of this study, in fact, retreating from a com- 
prehensive definition to more or less narrowly restricted, arbitrarily selected 
examples, makes quite explicit his reasons for doing so. 

On the other hand, it may be recorded that the authors of countless ethno- 
graphic monographs have described a very wide variety of activities in such a 
way as to lend support to the accepted definition. But these writers too, even 
when they apply the term "art" as by a lapse to this or that process or 
activity, will analyze seriously as art only a restricted number of activities. 

It is also worth noting that all writers regard art in our own culture as 
something apart, an activity of specialists denied as an outlet, so to speak, to 
most. Herskovits, for example, states (1948, p. 378), "To understand how closely 
integrated with all of life, and how expressive of a way of living art can be, is 
. . . not easy for us who live in the highly specialized societies of Euro-american 

Because of what can most generously be termed this absentmindedness of 
anthropologists in failing as it were to substantiate their definition, then, it 
would appear unprofitable to treat extensively here what they conceive to be 
the constituent elements of art. Anthropologists are, indeed, expansive on this 
very subject, for example, Jacobs and Stern, cogently arguing for four universal 
"features" of art (1947, pp. 211-12), and Bunzel, with deftness dissecting form 
into a further four elements (1938, pp. 558-9) ; but the fact remains that these 
various elements have been derived apparently with reference solely to the 
graphic and plastic arts, literature, music and dance, no other, and have yet 
to be proven meaningful in the analysis of, say, perfumes, or foods. 


When the fact is finally grasped that the art of no people has, then, been 
more than barely examined in some small part, it is not surprising that one has 
far to seek a coherent discussion of the manner in which the totality of art 
gears in with the other aspects of culture. One looks in vain to the writings of 
Boas, who, as many have noted, "was interested in dealing with culture, not in 
systematically theorizing about it" (Kroeber and Kluckhohn, 1952, p. 151). 
Boas declares that art is most intimately associated though in his view not 
necessarily universally, one gathers with religion, ethics and science, all four 
comprising together the "subjective" aspect of culture language, be it noted, 
constituting for him a phenomenon analytically quite distinct but he fails to 
demonstrate conclusively his dictum (1930, pp. 73 and 79). Similarly, one is 
frustrated by the writings of his disciples, who seem reluctant to go even as 
far as Boas, though Benedict in Patterns of Culture (1946, passim), it may be 
inferred, shows definite interest in the problem. 

Neither is the clue to be sought in museums, and certainly not in the lavishly 
pictorial genre of publication so intimately related to the exhibition hall that 
Malraux has designated it a "museum without walls" (Malraux, 1953, pp. 
11-127); both provide only more or less ragged distortions of art as defined, 
though, ironically, the ethnographic museum has rather more to say about art 
than the so-called art museum, at least potentially. All, it may be concluded, 
are far too much part of our own culture to serve adequately to bridge the gap 
between cultures, or, perhaps more aptly, to breach the barriers; in both these 

Anthropology and Art 109 

media anthropologists who are ideally men of two worlds at the very least ! 
adopt what appears to be a wholly passive role. 

Boas does indeed show how, in this or that culture, basketry, or sculpture, 
and the like gears in with this, that, or the other thing not very systematically, 
at that. And his followers have, as it were by definition, done much the same, 
as has done virtually every other anthropologist touching upon the subject, 
whatever his background. The result of such treatment, however, is a sort 
of compartmentalization the sealing-off of whole cultures which proves 
ultimately as much a curb to the cultural scientist, if not, perhaps, to the 
practicing artist as that against which Herskovits has warned. 

It is John Gillin who has provided anthropologists with the means of appreci- 
ating, the universal relationships between art and other aspects of culture, in 
his work of 1948, The Ways of Men. Gillin analyzes culture into mental and 
behavioral customs, and the latter in turn into actional and representational (1948, 
pp. 182-4, 314-15); it is probably possible now, nearly ten years after their 
initial formulation, to refine Gillin's definitions of all these terms, but the writer 
still finds meaningful the distinction implicit in Gillin's examples the customs 
of eating cited as actional, and "art activities" as representational, the one 
utilitarian primarily, and the other symbolic, the difference between them being 
one of degree, or of emphasis, as becomes clear when he states: 

All overt or behavioral customs and the artifacts associated with them may 
be viewed in a double aspect : ( 1 ) from the point of view of their utilitarian 
functions in the actual cultural or social situation, and (2) from the point of 
view of their symbolic functions. In the representational type of custom . . . 
the symbolic function is the more prominent and in some cases the utili- 
tarian function is almost indiscernible. *** If we turn to other customs . . . 
that are usually not thought of as representational in any sense, we usually 
discover after intimate acquaintance with the culture that they, too, carry 
a symbolic load. . . . 

Clearly, Gillin who most notably fails to define art calls for a kind of 
translation of the definition offered by Boas, rather than a mere rephrasing; 
for "pleasurable embellishment" one may substitute "meaningful embellish- 
ment," perhaps, for example. This represents of course a fundamental differ- 
ence in viewpoint, for the esthetic drive as such was apparently dear to Boas. 

One dares suggest as a further possibility, pour epater les savants, that the 
definition may require further qualification, as it were, specifically with respect 
to religion and also language, in the light of Gillin's analysis (cp. Langer, 
1948, pp. 103-9): religion to be defined as among other things which need 
not be touched upon here a system of mental patterns, including that ab- 
straction language, of which the observable evidence, so to speak, is art (con- 
sidered as a quality of activity, here, rather than of product), any treatment of 
art to be understood to extend to the full range of human activities, not ex- 
cluding speech and ritual. Actually, the position is hardly revolutionary; 
indeed, the older generation may feel justified in calling it reactionary (cp. 
Lowie, 1924, pp. 359-60). 

To this writer, this revised approach not only to art but also to religion has 
immediate appeal on account of its very neatness, tying up loose ends that 
have been let dangle for a generation though its practical usefulness in both 
managing ethnographic materials and communicating them must surely be 
proven. Especially it must be said, however, that Gillin, by equating symbolism 

1 10 Men and Cultures 

with art, in effect, and by underlining "the general symbolic function of overt 
customs and of artifacts" (1948, p. 465), appears to this writer only to be press- 
ing the ethnographer in the field to realize more fully the potentialities of 
Boas's definition. In this, it may be concluded, Gillin has proved true to anthro- 
pology as anthropology, an intersocietal institution the characteristic function 
of which is to link man's societies and cultures, anthropologists serving as 
media of culture-contact and -change, not in one direction, but in all. What- 
ever the situation in such other fields as economics, political organization, and 
law, in which a number of anthropologists have distinguished themselves by 
quite positive contributions, other anthropologists than Gillin dealing with art 
in the past generation have served as little more than purveyors of myth 
validating the charter of the institutions of " art" in our own society (or, more 
likely, a restricted stratum thereof), however remote from their aim this role 
may have been. 

University of Connecticut, 
Storrs, Connecticut. 


Beals, R. L., and Harry Hoijer 

1953. An Introduction to Anthropology. New York, The Macmillan Co. 
Benedict, Ruth 

1946. Patterns of Culture. New York, New American Library. 
Boas, Franz 

1927 (reprinted 1955). 

Primitive Art. New York, Dover Publications. 
1930. "Anthropology," in Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, II. New York, The 

Macmillan Go. 
Braid wood, Robert J. 

1951. Prehistoric Men. Chicago Natural History Museum Popular Series: Anthropology, 
No. 37. 

Bunzel, Ruth 

1929. The Pueblo Potter. New York, Columbia University Press. 

1938. "Art," in F. Boas, ed., General Anthropology. Boston, D. G. Heath & Go. 
Ghilde, V. Gordon 

1942. What Happened in History? Harmondsworth (England), Penguin Books, Ltd. 
Gassirer, Ernst 

1953. An Essay on Man. Garden City, Doubleday & Co. 
Gillin, John 

1948. The Ways of Men. New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts. 
Griaule, Marcel 

1947. Arts de VAfrique noire. Paris, Editions du Chene. 
Herskovits, M. J. 

1948. Man and His Works. New York, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 
Jacobs, Melville, and B. J. Stern 

1947. Outline of Anthropology. New York, Barnes and Noble. 
Kroeber, A. L., and Clyde Kluckhohn 

1952. Culture. Cambridge (Mass.), Peabody Museum. 
Langer, Suzanne K. 

1948. Philosophy in a New Key. New York, New American Library. 
Lowie, Robert H. 

1924. Primitive Religion. New York, Boni and Liveright. 
1934. An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. New York, Farrar and Rinehart. 
Malraux, Andre 

1953. The Voices of Silence. Garden City, Doubleday & Go. 

Anthropology and Art 1 1 1 

Nelson, Lucretia 

1954. Review of F. Boas, "Primitive Art" (edition of 1952), in American Anthropolo- 
gist, 56 : (2, 1), April. 

Read, Herbert 

1949. The Meaning of Art. Harmondsworth, Penguin Books, Ltd. 

1955. The Philosophy of Modem Art. New York, Meridian Books. 
Rice, D. Talbot 

1939. The Background of Art. London, Thomas Nelson & Sons. 
Weltfish, Gene 

1953. The Origins of Art. Indianapolis, Bobbs-Merrill & Go 


Josef Haekel 

Beharrung und Wandel, die beiden elementaren Triebkrafte im Kulturleben 
der Volker, bilden in ihrer eigentumlichen Ambivalenz Hauptprobleme der 
volkerkundlichen Forschung. Jedes Volk ist, so paradox es klingen mag, 
sowohl konservativ als auch auf Neuerungen eingestellt. Das Kraftespiel dieser 
menschlichen Grundstrebungen variiert in seinen Wirkungen allerdings sehr 
und zwar je nach allgemeiner Kulturartung, Volkscharakter, Kultur- 
elementen, Kulturaspekten and Zeitepoche. Im Grunde genommen sind wohl 
die meisten Kulturschopfungen auf Dauer gerichtet, wie lange jedoch ihre 
urspriingliche Pragung und Bedeutung erhalten bleibt, ist eine andere Frage. 
So schrieb M. Herskovits in seinem Buch "Man and his Works" (1948): 
"Cultural change can be studied only as a part of the problem of cultural 
stability; cultural stability can be understood only when change is measured 
against conservatism." Herskovits bemerkte ferner, dass Kulturwandel viel 
leichter zu erforschen sei als das Moment der Beharrung. Dies mag vielleicht 
einer der Grunde sein, dass, wie William Fenton, auf gegenwartige Inter- 
essensrichtungen Bezug nehmend, hervorhob, "ethnologists are preoccupied 
with the process of culture change and not paying enough attention to stability." 
Die heute in der "Anthropology" so sehr im Vordergrund des Iiiteresses 
stehenden Akkulturationsstudien beziehen sich bekanntlich hauptsachlich 
auf den gegenwartigen Kulturwandel. Die Bedeutung dieser Untersuchungen 
bedarf wohl keiner naheren Begriindung. Die gleiche Berechtigung muss aber 
auch den Forschungsinteressen jener Ethnologen eingeraumt werden, die von 
heutigen Gegebenheiten aus friihere Kulturformen und Zustande zu rekon- 
struieren trachten, wie hypothetisch die Ergebnisse im einzelnen manchmal 
auch noch sein mogen. Zum vollen Verstandnis der Gegenwart kann man nur 
durch die Erschliessung der Vergangenheit gelangen. Dass unter dieser Ruck- 
sicht das Konstanzproblem von besonderer Wichtigkeit ist, liegt auf der Hand. 

Konstanz aussert sich in verschiedener Weise. Beharrung als allgememe 
Haltung kann im Kulturtyp vorliegen, wie es in der Lebensform des Jagertums, 
das sich vom Palaolithikum bis heute erhalten hat, zum Ausdruck kommt. 
Beharrung kann sich auch nur auf einzelne Kulturaspekte oder Kulturelemente 
beschranken. Die von Ralph Linton bei Kulturerscheinungen getroffcne 
Unterscheidung zwischen Form, Bedeutung, Verwendung und Funktion ist 
auch fur das Konstanzproblem von Bedeutung. So kann z. B. die Form eines 
Kulturelementes stabil bleiben, wahrend sich Bedeutung und Funktion jeweils 
andern. Oder ein Volk schafft eine neue Form, gibt ihr aber Bedeutung und 
Verwendung der friiheren Form. 

Schwierig gestaltet sich fur gewohnlich der Nachweis, inwieweit eine Anzahl 
von Elementen lange Zeit hindurch stets in derselben Vergesellschaftung oder 
Kohasion verbleiben. Es handelt sich hier um die Frage der Konstanz eines 
Kulturkomplexes. In diesem Zusammenhang sei auf die Kulturkreise F. 
Graebners und W. Schmidts hingewiesen. Ihnen lag eine unrealistische Fassung 

Zum Problem der Konstanz in der Ethnologic 113 

des Beharrungsprinzipes zu Grunde. Der Kulturkreis, wie er von W. Schmidt 
formuliert wurde, beruhte namlich auf der Annahme einer schier unbeschrankt 
langen Dauer einer kulturellen Ganzheit, in der nicht nur Einzelelemente 
sondern auch ihre Integration sich wesentlich unverandert Jahrtausende 
hindurch erhalten hatten. Hiefur fehlen jedoch jegliche Belege und die empiri- 
schen Grundlagen. Die Kulturkreisschemata wurden von fast alien Vertretern 
der historischen Ethnologic, soweit sie sie iiberhaupt angenommen hatten, 
schon seit langem aufgegeben. Mit der Ablehnung des Konstanzbegriffes im 
Sinne der Kulturkreise ist jedoch nichts gegen die Moglichkeit langdauerenden 
Zusammenhaltes von Elementgruppen gesagt. Ebensowenig wird, wie W. 
Koppers immer wieder darauf hingewiesen hat, durch die Ablehnung der 
Kulturkreise die grundsatzliche Berechtigung der historischen Methode in der 
Ethnologic mit ihrer Beziehungsforschung tangiert. 

Im Zusammenhang mit dem Beharrungsmoment sei auch auf die sogenann- 
ten Universalieii hingewiesen, jene grundlegenden Elemente also, die alien 
Volkern gemeinsam sind. Hiezu zahlen z. B. Familie, Inzesttabu (das nur bei 
wenigen Volkern fur bestimmte Belange institutionell aufgehoben wird), 
Eigentumsbegriff, ethische Grundnormen, Religion, Feuergebrauch u.a.m. 
Diese Universalien haben aber mit dem Konstanzprinzip eigentlich nichts zu 
tun. Da sie fur die Realisierung der fundamentalen physisch-psychischen 
Wcsensart des Menschen unerlasslich sind und existenzielle Bedeutung haben, 
ist bei ihnen die Frage nach Konstanz und Wandel, wenn wir von ihrer 
konkreten Ausformung absehen, irrelevant. 

Zur methodischen Erfassung des Beharrungsmomentes im Kulturleben 
kommen meines Erachtens folgende Wege in Betracht: 1) Verbreitungs- und 
Vergleichsstudien. 2) Lokalgebundene Kulturanalysen. 3) Ethnohistorie. 4) 
Studium der Wechselwirkungen zwischen Hochkulturen und sogenannten 
Primitivkulturen. 5) Korrelation zwischen ethnographischen und prahis- 
torischen Datcn. 

1. Bei Verbreitungs- und Vergleichsstudien handelt es sich darum, fest- 
zustellen, ob analoge Kulturerscheinungen auf historisch-genetische Zusammen- 
gehorigkeit beruhen. Dies nach den Worten von John Bennett (1944, S. 165) 
ausgedriickt: ". . . if two sets of phenomena, widely separated in space, show 
significant formal and/or functional similarity, it can be assumed that they have 
a common origin." Oder wie R. Lowie (1947, S. 377) formuliert hat: "The 
point is ... to group together what is alike in essentials and not to be captivated 
by outward appearance." Konncn also Kulturerscheinungen in ihrer regionalen 
oder interkontinentalen Verbreitung auf eineii gemeinsamen Ausgangspunkt 
zuruckgefiihrt werden, so ware ihnen grundsatzlich betonte Konstanz zuzu- 
billigen, zumindest in ihrem Wesenskem oder in ihrer Grundidee. Im einzelnen 
muss jedoch auch auf Gharakter und Funktion des betreffenden Elementes, die 
Art seiner Verbreitung und andere Momente Bedacht genommen werden. 
Eine Sonderstcllung kommt bei der Frage nach Konstanz dem Gesellschaftsleben 
zu und zwar im Hinblick auf die Wechselwirkung zwischen Sozialformen und 
Sozialstrukturcn einerseits, okonomischen, demographischen und biologischen 
Faktoren anderseits. Es eignen sich daher hier weitraumige Vergleichsstudien 
zur Erfassung von Konstanz nur im beschrankten Ausmasse. Eine weitere Frage 
ist, inwieweit die Beharrung von "trait-complexes" nachgewiesen werden kann. 
H. Manndorff (Wien) z. B. hat cine betonte Konstanz von Saat- und Ernteriten 
halbnomadischer Brandrodungsbauer Indiens, Stamme, die weit getrennt von 
einander wohnen, wahrscheinlich machen konnen. Die Ausbildung dieses 

114 Men and Cultures 

Ritualkomplexes muss in die Zeit vor den Einwirkungen indoarischer und 
dravidischer Sprachtrager zunickreichen. Milovan Gavazzi (Zagreb) wies 
neuerdings auf die jahrtausende lange Behammg des Wanderhirtenkomplexes, 
der Transhumantes, auf dem Balkan hin, von dem eine Reihe von Einzelzugen 
bis heute weiterleben. 

2. Ein weiterer Weg zur Erfassung des Behammgsmomentes sind lokalge- 
bundene Kulturanalysen, d.h. ein intensives Studium von Einzelkulturen mit 
eingehender Beriicksichtigung der Strukturen, Funktionen und Wertsysteme, 
des Spannungsverhaltnisses zwischen Individuum und Gemeinschaft sowie 
zwischen den Generationen. Dabei ist auch zu achten, wie Innovationen 
jeweils aufgenommen werden. A. J. F. Kobben (1956) hat bei den Agni und 
Ashanti Westafrikas beobachten konnen, wie zah an der traditionellen matri- 
linealen Erbrechtsordnung festgehalten wird, obwohl sie speziell unter den 
gegenwartigen okonomischen Gegebenheiten nur mit grossen Schwierigkeiten 
und tiefgehenden emotionalen Spannungen aufrechterhalten werden kann. 
W. Fen ton (1953) wiederum konnte zeigen, wie sich bei verschiedenen Indianer- 
stammen Nordamerikas die Beharrung an kulturellen Grundhaltungen und 
Strukturprinzipien auf den Prozess der Akkulturation jeweils verschieden 

Eine besondere Art des Konstanzproblems bilden die Survivals. Darunter 
versteht man bekanntlich Kulturerscheinungen, die aus friiheren Epochen der 
Volksgeschichte erhalten geblieben sind und gewissermassen wie Fremdkorper 
aus dem Rahmen des gegenwartigen Kulturgefuges fallen. Es bedarf jedoch, 
wie schon F. Graebner hingewiesen hat, eingehender Untersuchurigen im Sinne 
lokalgebundener Kulturanalysen und Vergleichsstudien, um zu erheben, ob es 
sich im Einzelfall wirklich um Survivals handelt und nicht um ubernommene 
Fremdelemente, die noch nicht integriert wurden. 

3. Ethnohistorische Untersuchungen zur Erfassung des Konstanzproblems 
beinhalten im wesentlichen die Auswertung schriftlicher Nachrichten oder 
datierter Quellen iiber Volker und Kulturzustande aus verschiedenen Zeiten 
sowie die kritische Verwertung von Traditionen. Eine wertvolle Quelle stellt 
in dieser Hinsicht z. B. Herodot dar. Manche der von ihm berichteten ethno- 
graphischen Daten aus dem pontisch-westasiatischen Bereich geben interes- 
sante Hinweise auf kulturelle Beharrung. Um von verschiedenen ethnohis- 
torischen Studien aus der letzten Zeit nur ein Beispiel anzugeben, sei auf das 
Werk von A. Paul, A History of the Beja Tribes of the Sudan ( 1 954) hinge- 
wiesen. Hierin konnte bei den Beja-Stammen im Osten Aegyptens in wesentlichen 
Kulturbelangen betonte Konstanz festgestellt werden. Dabei sei bemerkt, 
dass diesen Stammen fur die Beurteilung der Kamelnomaden Nordafrikas mit 
ihren maternalen Sozialtendenzen besondere Bedeutung zukommt. 

4. Das Studium der Wechselwirkungen zwischen Hochkulturen und 
Primitivkulturen stellt in Bezug auf das Konstanzproblem einen weiteren 
wichtigen Weg dar. Hier ist zu klaren, welche Einflusse von Hochkulturen auf 
Volker mit geringerer zivilisatorischer Ausriistung ausgegangen sind, ferner, 
welche Elemente von primitiveren Substratkulturen sich in den Hochkulturen 
erhalten haben. Es bedarf wohl keiner besonderen Erwahnung, dass bei 
Vorhandensein von Schriftquellen und datierten Denkmalern die Erfassung der 
Konstanz wesentlich erleichtert wird. Wenn nun ein- und dieselbe Kultur- 
erscheinung sowohl in bestimmten Phasen von Hochkulturen als auch in 
Primitivkulturen des naheren und weiteren Umkreises vorhanden ist und ihre 
Entstehung in der betreffenden Hochkultur nachgewiesen werden kann, dann 

Zum Problem der Konstanz in der Ethnologic 115 

erscheint nicht nur der Verbreitungsweg des Elementes klargelegt, sondern es 
wird auch die genauere Fixierung seiner Beharrungsdauer ermoglicht. Es sei 
nur auf einen konkreten Fall hingewiesen. W. Hirschberg (Wien 1955) hat 
gezeigt, dass der fur die Negerstaaten weiter Teile Afrikas so charakteristische 
Zwangstod des Konigs (der sogenannte rituelle Konigsmord) von Meroe, dem 
wichtigen Kultur- und Handelszentrum im Siiden Aegyptens ausgegangen sein 
diirfte. Die in Frage stehende Institution erscheint jedenfalls fur Meroe, einem 
Ableger der altagyptischen Hochkultur, schon in vorchristlicher Zeit bezeugt. 
Die Ausbreitung dieser Einrichtung wird zusammen mit einer bestimmten 
Staatsidee wohl nach dem Untergang von Meroe im 4. Jahrh. n. Chr. erfolgt 
sein. Die prinzipielle Konstanz der rituellen Konigstotung in Afrika erscheint 
somit in einem gut belegten chronologischen Rahmen. Wichtige Aufschliisse 
iiber die Frage der Beharrung spezifischer Hochkultur el emente und ihre 
chronologische Fixierung brachten die Studien R. Heine- Geldern's iiber die 
vorkolumbischen Kulturbeziehungen zwischen Alter und Neuer Welt. 

5. Die Korrelation ethnographischer und prahistorischer bzw. archaolo- 
gischer Daten ermoglicht in besonderer Weise, Beharrung und deren Dauer 
wenigstens fur bestimmte Kulturbelange zu erfassen. Wichtige Untersuchungen 
liegen dies beziiglich besonders von Nordamerika, Nord- und Zentralasien und 
Australien vor. Ein seltener Fall fur die Moglichkeit einer Korrelation von 
Traditionen mit prahistorischen Straten bietet sich bei den Papago-Indianern 
des siidlichen Arizona. Ihre lange Ursprungsmythe, in der historische Reminis- 
zenzen enthalten zu sein scheinen, kann mit der fast liickenlosen prahistorischen 
Schichtenfolge des Gebietes, die vom Endpleistozen bis in die voreuropaische 
Zeit reicht, in gewisse Beziehung gebracht werden. Es scheint sich daraus zu 
ergeben, dass die besondere Pragung der Kulturheroengestalt der Papago mit 
dem Aufkommen der prahistorischen Hohokam-Kultur um Chr. Geb. zusam- 
menhangt und sie somit eine Konstanz von rund 2000 Jahren beanspruchen 
konnte. Wie hypothetisch diese Deutungen auch sein mogen, die aus dem 
besonders gelagerten Fall des Papagogebietes sich ergebenden Indizien sind 
jedenfalls im Auge zu behalten. 

Abschliessend seien noch einige Hinweise auf Faktoren gegeben, die Beharrung 
und Wandel bedingen oder bewirken konnen. Herskovits (1955, S. 451, 453) 
ausserte sich hiezu folgend: "Conservatism and Change in culture are the 
result of the interplay of environmental, historical, and psychological factors." 
". . . it is these ever-differing historic streams that at once reflect and shape the 
attitudes and points of view of societies that, in the final analysis, determine the 
degree to which each will be hospitable or hostile to innovations." Die psycho- 
logischen Beharrungs- und Wandlungsfaktoren liegen im besonderen in der 
Wirksamkeit markanter Personlichkeiten, in den Spannungen zwischen 
Individuum und Gemeinschaft, zwischen alter und junger Generation sowie in 
den Wertsystemen. Zur Beharrung konnen auch fuhren einfache Kulturartung 
mit betonter Selbstgenugsamkeit und innerkulturlicher Spannungsarrnut, wie 
sie vor allem Jager- und Sammlervolkern eigen sind, ferner organisierte 
Traditionsubermittlung, Ritualisierung von Einrichtungen und schliesslich 
Momente, die im inneren Wesen von Kulturerscheinungen liegen. Im 
besonderen Ausmasse tragt die Gerontokratie zur Beharrung in verschiedenen 
Kulturbelangen bei. Doch konnen anderseits gerade die alten Manner kraft 
ihrer sozialen und rituellen Machtstellung die Tradition unterbrechen und 
Neuerungen einfuhren. Ein stark stabilisierend wirkender Faktor ist schliesslich 
bei Vorhandensein einer Schrift gegeben, doch erfolgt, wie wir wissen, in 

116 Men and Cultures 

Hochkulturen die integre Weitergabe der Tradition auch ohne schriftliche 

Es ware an der Zeit, dass das Konstanzproblem bald cine ahnliche system- 
atische Behandlung erfahre wie sie bereits H. G. Barnett (1953) fur die Innova- 
tion durchgefuhrt hat. Konstanz und Wandel sind die beiden Momente, die 
den historischen Grundcharakter der Ethnologic bestimmen. 

Wien, Oesterreich. 


Barnett, H. G. 

1953. Innovation, The Basis of Cultural Change. New York. 
Bennett, J. 

1944. The Development of Ethnological Theory as Illustrated by the Studies of the 

Plains Sun Dance. American Anthropologist) 46 : (2). 
Bidney, D. 

1953. Theoretical Anthropology. New York. 
Bornemann, Fr. 

1938 Zum Form- und Quantitatskriterium. Anthropos, 33/34. 
Cooper, J. 

1941. Temporal Sequence and the Marginal Cultures. Catholic University, Anthropol. 

Ser. No. 10, Washington. 
Dozier, E. 

1951. Resistance to Acculturation and Assimilation in an Indian Pueblo. American 

Anthropologist, 53 : (1). 
Fenton, W. N. 

1953. Cultural Stability and Change in American Indian Societies. Journal, R. 

Anthropol. Institute, 83 : (2). London. 
Gavazzi, M. 

1956. Das Kulturerbe der Siidslaven im Lichte der Volkerkunde. In: Die Welt der 

Slaven, Vol. I. Wiesbaden. 
Graebner, F. 

1911. Methode der Ethnologic . Heidelberg. 
Haekel, J. 

1953. Zum Problem der Korrelation prahistorischer und rezenter Kulturen. 
Wiener Volkerkundliche Mitteilungen, 1 : (2). 

1954. Ethnologische und prahistorische Probleme Australiens. Wiener Volker- 
kundliche Mitteilungen, 2 : (1). 

1955a. Zum ethnologischen Aussagewert von Kulturparallelen. Wiener Volkerkundliche 

Mitteilungen, 3: (2). 
1955b. Zum Problem der Konstanz und des Wandels in den Kulturen Nordwest 

Amerikas. Anais do XXXI Intern. Congr. de Americanistas, Vol. I. Sao Paulo. 
1956a. Prof. Wilhelm Schmidts Bedeutung fur die Religionsgeschichte des vorkolum- 

bischen Amerika. Saeculum, 7 : (1), Freiburg. 
1956b. Zum heutigen Forschungsstand der historischen Ethnologic. In: Die Wiener 

Schule d. Volkerkunde. Festschrift. Wien. 
Heine-Geldern, R. 

1954. Die asiatische Herkunft der sudamerikanischen Metalltechnik. Paideuma V. 
Frankfurt a.M. 

Herskovits, M. 

1955. Cultural Anthropology. New York. 
Hirschberg, W. 

1955. Kultureinfliisse Meroes und Napatas auf Negerafrika. Wiener Volkerkundliche 
Mitteilungen, 3: (1). 

Zum Problem der Konstanz in der Ethnologic 117 

Hohenwart-Gerlachstein, A. 

1952. Zur "Geschwisterehe" im aiten Aegypten. Wiener Beitr. z.. Kulturgesch. u. 
Ling., IX. 

Kluckhohn, G. 

1953. Universal Categories of Culture. In: A. L. Kroeber, Anthropology Today. 

Kobben, A.J. F. 

1956. Die vergleichend-funktionelle Methode in der Volkerkunde. Sociologus, N. F., 

6: (1), Berlin. 
Koppers, W. 

1951. Der historische Gedanke in Ethnologic und Religionswissenschaft. In: 
F. Konig, Christus u. d. Religionen d. Erde, I. Wien. 

1952a. Der historische Gedanke in Ethnologic und Prehistoric. Wiener Beitr. z. 

Kulturgesch. u. Ling., IX. 
1952b. Primitive Man and His World Picture. London and New York. 

1953. Zusammenarbeit von Ethnologic und Prahistorie. Ein Beitrag zur Methode 
beider Wissenschaften. ^eitschr.f. EthnoL, 78 : (1), Braunschweig. 

1954. Der historische Grundcharakter der Volkerkunde. Studium Generate, 1 : (3), 

1955. Diffusion: Transmission and Acceptance. In: Yearbook of Anthropology. New 
York, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. 

Kroeber, A. L. 

1952. The Nature of Culture. Chicago. 

1953. Anthropology Today. Chicago. 
Linton, R 

1936. The Study of Man, An Introduction. New York. 
Lowie, R. 

1937. The History of Ethnological Theory. New York. 
1947. An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. New York. 

Nadel, S. F. 

1951. The Foundations of Social Anthropology. London. 
Redfield, R. 

1953. The Primitive World and Its Transformation. Ithaca, N.Y. 
Spencer, R. (Ed.) 

1954. Method and Perspective in Anthropology. Minneapolis. 
Schmidt, W. 

1936. Handbuch der Methode der kulturhistorischen Ethnologie (mit Beitragen von W. 

Koppers). Minister. 
Thausing, G. 

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Z. Kulturgesch. n. Ling., V. 


Edward T. Hall, Jr. 

During my career as an anthropologist I have been continually impressed by the 
extent to which culture patterns and molds behavior in unconscious ways. 

I am sure all of you have had, many times, the experience of talking about 
culture to the layman only to have almost every word you have said misunder- 
stood or distorted. This experience, repeated enough times, poses very real 
problems for the anthropologist. He finds himself feeling somewhat as Columbus 
must have felt when he was trying to persuade his crew that the world was 
round when their experience and senses told them it was flat. I began to have to 
face this problem in a very real way when I directed a training program for 
Point 4 technicians going abroad. The culture concept taken seriously made 
them anxious; instead, they wanted to hear about the "strange customs" of 
the foreigner. They also wanted to be told how to avoid offending simple 
rules: like not handing Moslems things with the left hand. Quite correctly they 
did not want to hear about culture in the abstract. 

At that time we were having great success teaching foreign languages to 
these same Americans, using techniques developed by the anthropologist 
or descriptive linguist. The high degree of success of the linguists and the rather 
poor showing of the rest of the anthropologists raised the question as to whether 
there wasn't something to be learned by comparing the methodologies of the 
two fields. Implicit in this was the great progress that had been made in recent 
years by those who followed in the footsteps of Sapir, Bloomfield, and Whorf. 

If languages were a part of culture, and could be taught so that people could 
speak with little or no accent, why could not the rest of the culture be analyzed 
in such a way so that people could learn by doing and thereby remove the accent 
from their behavior ? The key was the isolating out of cultural systems which 
could be treated analogously to language. 

Another contribution of linguistics was the very great stress laid on paying 
attention to details of structure and the importance of studying very small 
things first. The work of Benjamin Lee Whorf is an excellent example of 
how a properly detailed analysis can produce startling results in the interpre- 
tation of over-all patterns. 

Analysis of the smallest details of culture, involving discrete cultural systems, 
has been termed the study of microculture. Briefly, a microcultural analysis 
differentiates between three classes of events : sets, isolates, and patterns, which 
occur in three different contexts: the formal, informal, and technical. 

Time permits only a perfunctory description of these concepts. Sets are 
comparable to words and morphemes; they occur in very large numbers and 
are by definition those things which people readily observe. Isolates go to make 
up sets. Like phonemes, they are abstractions and are limited in number. 
Sets are arranged in patterns, which are also limited in number. Sets out of the 
context of the pattern have little or no meaning. 

Formal culture is traditional and often equated with human nature. Informal 
culture is largely out of awareness and is thought to have no rules (patterns) 
governing it. Technical culture is in full awareness and is highly explicit. There 

A Microcultural Analysis of Time 119 

are sets, isolates, and patterns for each ; that is, there are formal sets, isolates, and 
patterns, informal sets, and so on. 

As a rule, the most difficulty in the cross-cultural experience is had with the 
informal, as well as with the isolates and patterns. I have chosen "time" to 
illustrate a few of these points first, because like language, it can be handled ; 
second, it is not too complex at first; third, you can get good comparable 
material from other cultures ; fourth, Americans have trouble with both temporal 
relationships overseas as do foreign visitors to the U.S. Time represents the type 
of discrete and basic cultural system that lends itself to analysis and is ultimately 
reflected also in all other systems of culture. 

Time for the Western European is something that is quite concrete and which 
can be handled. It can be measured, scheduled, earned, saved, spent, and 
wasted. It is highly valued, important, and geared into our individual society in 
such a way as to make any other way of handling time seem unnatural and at 
odds with the system. 

The Sioux, on the other hand, have an entirely different way of handling 
time. I am informed that they have no word for time as we know it, no word for 
waiting or late. Things happen not when they are scheduled but when there is a 
state of readiness. 

The Trukese have a rather remarkable way of structuring time. On Truk, 
time does not heal; it stacks up like a deck of cards. Long-past events are 
presented as though they have just happened, and the investigator soon learns 
to pinpoint unknown events in relationship to known events. 

The Navajo's concept of time would seem to fit our treatment of space more 
closely than anything else. The future is not something tangible, real, and certain 
and for which you plan : the future can be anywhere. One of the results was that 
during sheep reductions instituted as a part of a range control program some 
years ago, the Navajos were not impressed when they were asked to make 
sacrifices in return for future rewards. 

Whorf recognized the very different way in which time is handled by the 
Hopi. Likewise, Bohannon commented on the Tiv and Evans Prichard on the 
Nuer ; both were impressed by the very different way in which time is structured 
by these two groups as compared with the European. 

All of these references have to do with observations on the over-all pattern of 
time as it occurs in different cultures. Missing from the literature are descriptions 
of the formal isolates and patterns, as well as the entire range of the informal. 
Since it is in these two areas that most of the trouble seems to occur, I have 
chosen a few examples from our own cultures (urban and Eastern seaboard) as 
well as that of the Middle East as represented in the urban cultures of Syria and 

Both Americans and Arabs have run afoul of each other on a number of points 
where there is conflict between their formal patterns or else where there is little 
or no overlap. In such cases the other fellow's system just doesn't make' sense. 

We tend to characterize the Arab as being rather sloppy in the way he handles 
time. So it may come as a surprise to some of you to learn that we also appear 
to him to be recklessly unconcerned about a good many things which happen 
in time so much so, that large portions of what we say in certain contexts is 
discounted, and whole situations distorted because of the loose and sloppy 
handling of our own time references. 

On the formal level we take it for granted that time is duration, and that 
duration can only be measured in terms of two points. Ours is bipolar duration. 

120 Men and Cultures 

Sometimes the two points are not mentioned but they are always there. Some- 
times they are rather vague, or on the other hand, they may be stated explicitly. 
The technical clock provides us with something to hang our informal and formal 
time behavior on. So that when a man says, "I'll see you at 10:00 o'clock," 
the person he is speaking to will calculate the projected duration of visit, the 
relative positions in the business hierarchy, the importance of their business, as 
well as a number of other items, and will come up with a range of time within 
which he has to arrive (say 3 minutes of 10:00 to 5 minutes after). If we tell 
someone to come over for drinks in the evening at about 9 : 00 o'clock, we are sur- 
prised if they arrive at 9:00 and we do not expect them much before 9:20; after 
9 : 40 we find ourselves saying, " I wonder what happened to the So-and-So's ? " 

The Arab, on the other hand, has a mono-ordinate system, which operates 
from one clearly defined and very definite point. We face forward and try to 
structure that is, schedule the future as rigidly as possible; they face back- 
ward and are more technical than we are about the way certain events are 
reported to them, and the future is something that is almost impossible to 
schedule accurately. Man can try but events always trip him up. Our daily 
schedule, by contrast, calls for appointments that are sealed off from each other 
by immovable compartments of fixed relative size. With us it's a sign of insta- 
bility to keep shifting schedules and it makes us very anxious when we have to 
change appointments around or alter people's places in a projected schedule. 
The Arab, on the other hand, does not take the schedule as something sacred. 
He feels it is not right to hold the barriers on a schedule too rigidly. If you are 
meeting with someone and your business is not yet completed, you prolong it. 
We do this too, but our pattern emphasizes the schedule and their pattern 
emphasizes the contents of the schedule. 

As nearly as I can tell, there is a language of time for all people. It requires as 
much learning as does spoken language. Our pattern, for instance, includes a 
highly elaborated system of setsmorphotemps (like words) that have certain 
meanings in different situations. If a boy calls up a girl at 6 : 00 o'clock and wants 
her to go out at 7:00, this communicates that either the occasion or the girl 
or both are not very important to the boy or that they are very close. That is, 
with us there is always a certain amount of lead time below which you cannot 
go; otherwise you will be insulting. Also, as you all know, the proper advance 
notice will signal the importance of the occasion. Students dating for a senior 
prom will have everything sewed up months in advance. The minimum here 
seems to be about a month. 

The Arab does not make the same distinction as we do along these lines. At 
the present stage of my knowledge it would appear that lead time as an indicator 
of the importance attached to an event is much less significant than it is with 
us and is more a function of how long it takes the two parties to get together. 
Even for marriages, which we try to schedule well in advance, lead time is 
more a function of what has to be accomplished by the two families than any- 
thing else. One of the things that happens here is that the families have to get 
to know each other. If cousins marry, less time is required because the families 
know all there is to know. 

In addition to the fact that lead time simply does not mean the same thing 
to the Arab, their informal pattern places a restriction of about one week on the 
setting up of all sorts of events; any longer period ahead is likely to be forgotten. 

Informally, we have four isolates that enable us to tell the difference between 
one informal set and another. That is, there are four different components that 

/v iVLicrocimurai /\naiysis 01 nme izi 

go to make up the sets on this level. Two of these isolates are not present in Arab 
culture in the same way that they are in American. 

Our informal isolates are urgency, monochronism, activity, and variety. 
This will become a little clearer if you consider that on the set level we dis- 
tinguish between eight different degrees of duration, going all the way from 
immediately to forever through very short duration, short duration, long duration, 
etc. So that a person says, "It took me forever to finish packing"; "I hardly 
had time to get my things packed before the taxi arrived," and so on. 

If one looks at these different distinctions he discerns that informally we 
measure time with a rubber yardstick but that the divisions are always the same 
in relationship to each other. 

One also discovers that it is such things as the degree of urgency whether 
we are doing or trying to do more than one thing and whether we are active 
or passive that determines which part of the scale we feel we are on. 

In regard to informal time, we do not seem to share the monochrome isolate 
with the Arabs. Theirs is a polychronic culture on the low end of the scale. 
(The Chinese impress one as being polychronic but very high on the scale ; that 
is, they value or enhance the value of doing many things at the same time.) 
One of the results of our monochronism is rigid scheduling: we get very specific 
in regard to when it is we want things finished ; so that a publisher will say, 
"Can you complete your book by July 1, 1947?" or a tourist will say, "I've 
got to have my car by 5:00 o'clock Monday afternoon" what's left unsaid is, 
"otherwise I can't get to Dubuque by Tuesday morning and my whole schedule 
will be shot." 

Monochronism and its resulting scheduling tend to put us in the position of 
constantly reminding ourselves and others of deadlines that have to be met. 
The deadline therefore becomes a common item in the vocabulary of Western 
time. This item is the equivalent of a "dirty word" to someone who has been 
raised according to Arab time. To tell an Arab mechanic, "I have to have my 
car by 5:00 o'clock tomorrow afternoon," is like backing him into a corner and 
holding a stick over his head. The best way not to get your radio fixed is to pin- 
point the time when you expect to have it done. In the U.S., to get technical 
about the specific time a given job has to be finished is a way of increasing the 
emphasis and urgency. In the Middle East such specificity communicates 
something quite different. There are ways of getting things done by a given time, 
but they do not include getting technical about the point in time that the job 
has to be finished. These differences are largely traceable to the differences in 
the isolate level between the two cultures. 

An examination of informal patterns in the two cultures also provides us with 
some interesting contrasts. In the U.S. there are two principal patterns of 
informal time. Participants of each look down on the other. The difference 
between the two patterns can be seen if you observe the behavior of individuals 
in such situations as arrival at offices where the target time remains constant 
shall we say, 8 : 30. Given this time, participants of one pattern will not consider 
they are late until about 15 minutes after the appointed hour and will feel 
they are being quite prompt if they arrive, shall we say, at 8:35; 8:30 is OK 
and 8:25 a little early. I have called this the diffused-point pattern because the 
target time has been spread out, as it were. 

In the other pattern you are late if you arrive at 8: 31 and just barely on time 
at 8 : 30. These people will, as a rule, arrive considerably before the appointed 

122 Men and Cultures 

hour. This pattern has been called the displaced-point pattern, for obvious 
reasons. It is best known in connection with evening visits and calls in the urban 
East of the U.S. 

The diffused-point people think that the displaced-pointers are unduly 
obsessional, rigid, strict, or controlling in their handling of time. The displaced- 
pointers, on the other hand, feel that the participants of the other pattern are 
sloppy, at times irreverent, and not quite to be depended upon. Both are loathe 
to recognize that there are really two or more patterns in the U.S. and that 
some people learned one and others, another. 

In the Middle East, I am told, promptness at offices is a function of the degree 
of security of the employee. If he is very secure he will be somewhat irregular ; 
if he needs the job he will be on time, which means that he will arrive before 
the appointed hour. Appointments in this part of the world use one point of 
reference in an over-all pattern; so that a person will say, " I will see you before 
one hour or after one hour, before one week or after one week,' 5 and so on. 
Because of the way we handle our points we tend to be somewhat cavalier with 
the Middle East fixed point. This is a mistake. On the other hand, their refer- 
ences sound impossibly inexact and vague because we don't know what is 
meant by "after one hour" which can mean anything to us. Besides, we are 
used to two points, either stated explicitly or implied. 

One has to make a special point of the fixed point in this part of the world 
because of our own tendency to diffuse points at least part of the time. If an 
American is asked how long he has been home from the office and he says, 
"Since 5 :00 o'clock," and someone saw him on the street outside his apartment 
at 5:05, he will wonder what the American is trying to hide and ask himself, 
"Why is he lying?" Likewise, if one of us is asked, "How long have you been 
in Damascus?" and we reply, "Two years," when in reality it has been only 
22-J months, the hearer will again wonder what devious schemes we have up our 
sleeve because otherwise why would we lie? 

Since it has been possible to give only a few examples of the results of a micro- 
cultural analysis, it is hoped that enough has been given to communicate the 
general pattern of the work. These studies are in their preliminary phases, and 
much that has been reported here will have to be considered as tentative in 
nature, particularly some of the Middle Eastern patterns. 

It would, however, seem that a microcultural investigation and analysis 
properly conducted can provide material which can be compared in the same 
way that phonetic and phonemic material from different languages can be 
compared. The results of such studies are quite specific and can therefore be 
taught in much the same way that language can be taught. Such analyses 
require considerable time to conduct because of the small size of the structure 
points one is working with. The highly specific nature of these data have proved 
to be more acceptable to the operator than some of our more generalized 
formulations about culture. 

Washington, D.C. 


1. Originally this paper was titled A Microcultural Analysis of Time and Space. It had to 
be drastically cut to fit into the schedule, so only Time will be dealt with in this presen- 




Melville Jacobs 

Anthropologists and folklorists have collected quantities of myths and tales, 
often with exacting standards and awareness that the principal value was the 
advancement of scientific knowledge. However, comprehension of oral litera- 
tures remains largely descriptive reporting. A science matures as it arranges 
and classifies its reported facts, and as it formulates and tests hypotheses con- 
cerning the weightings of causal and reinforcing factors. Folklore has progressed 
little toward such maturity because it has not advanced significantly in the 
direction of performing revealing operations upon its descriptive data. Since 
it has not set up a structure of theory it has been unable to arrange and test 
reported data to demonstrate segments of a theoretical system. Recent emphases 
by adherents of G. G. Jung and the group of New Critics upon archetypal 
themes and supposed origins in rituals are of slight value as guides to recognition 
of the many important features which should be investigated in oral literatures. 
These writers have failed to offer arrangements of types of content and traits of 
style, and theorization about process within each type has been lacking. It is 
timely to inquire about procedures which effect usable arrangements of all 
folkloristic materials and accordingly lead to examination of theory. I comment 
summarily in this paper upon attempts to use a few fresh methods in which I 
engaged when studying Chinook myths and tales. 


Many writers have stressed the creativity of the public narrator of folktales. 
The seminal role of the community in its year-round discussions of stories, and 
the awareness which a recitalist possesses concerning audience feelings during 
his performance have been largely ignored. Notations on such matters were 
rarely obtained from informants and involved difficulties in field research. The 
dogma of signal creativity of the rare genius may have deflected research away 
from quest of processes which reside in community manipulations of stpries and 
in impact of the populace upon narrators. The recital has fascinated folklorists, 
although the principal dynamics which shape performance utterances may 
reside elsewhere. In many cultures there is as much or more creativity by persons 
who are infrequently or not yet narrators, but the factors which may be dis- 
cerned in their discussions of story content and forms remain almost unknown. 
Folklore's progress toward a theoretical system, and its capacity to weigh the 
many causes of content and style, hinge upon developments of methods 
for analysis of the needs and behavior of the people of communities rather than 
citations of inexplicably exceptional men. 

124 Men and Cultures 


A number of familiar premises offer a foundation for methodology in study 
of folklore content. An oral literature should be recorded in the native language 
with a close translation, maybe excepting only the infrequent instances where 
an informant can provide a sensitive and precisely translated version directly in 
a European language. The sociocultural setting in which the literature was 
nurtured and maintained must be well known. 

Plot, motif, and actor content cannot be isolated from traits of style. Both 
content and style have to be subjected to classification in contras table types of 
features. An inventory of classes of features of content includes the following for 
a Chinook literature. I cite emphases in story content, social relationships, male 
personality traits, female personality traits, traits of child actors, explanatory 
and origin items, humor-generating stimuli, value ideals explicitly or implicitly 
present, items expressing the supernatural, traits exhibiting world view, and 
items referring to foods and technology. Each of these and other classes of 
content is further divisible. A principal aim of such ordering is to facilitate 
determination of probable sociocultural causes for their articulation in recitals. 
The task is to so analyze the culture and the content of all the stories that one 
may ascertain for each class of story content its special cluster of causes. 

In the compass of this paper attention is given briefly to each mentioned 
category of features of content. 

The first is that of principal emphases. Simple counting of frequencies of 
content items in Chinook literature shows that broadly social and narrowly 
kinship relationships, such as of child to grandmother, receive more stress than 
actor delineations, humorous situations, or moralistic presentation of value 
ideals. Although identification of kinship relationships as units is subject to a 
margin of error, it is clear that outstanding emphasis is in expressions of tensions 
and releases such as arose in narrator and audience identification with actors 
in their social relationships. In only one of over sixty stories is there a total 
absence of reference to a social or narrowly kinship tie. Humor is missing from 
about half, personality depictions and value ideals from many of the stories. Why 
this patent accent upon relationships? Although a plausible answer presumably 
will cite multiple factors, the following starting suggestion is offered. Myths 
and tales constitute a kind of screen. Upon it appear actors and situations 
identifications with which effect emotional releases for which the societal 
structure did not fully provide. Since Chinook society apparently failed to offer 
outlets for various feelings such as those which developed in child-grandmother 
relationships, myths and tales presented escape valves. Tense feelings which 
were poorly or not at all resolved in community participations were directed 
onto the screen of a dramatic art. 

Itemization into tentative units of such unfulfilled sentiments gives the 
following classification for Chinook. Feelings about siblings were projected in 
twenty-five of a total of more than sixty stories. Feelings arising in Oedipal 
and marital relationships, including child-grandmother bonds, were expressed 
in seventy-nine instances. Feelings about children received expression only 
twenty-eight times, oldsters thirty-five, social inferiors twenty-three, non- 
villagers twenty-eight. Feelings derogatory to women were expressed twenty- 
four times. 

A simple arithmetical method of this kind helps to point up problems about 
some aspects of story content. A suggested hypothesis is that the society failed 

Thoughts on Methodology for Comprehension of an Oral Literature 125 

its people most notably in Oedipal and marital relationships. Seemingly it 
exhibited a degree of success in handling relationships toward children, oldsters, 
inferiors, outsiders, women, and siblings. But tensions in such matters were so 
considerable as to result in channelings onto the story screen. Support for this 
conclusion would have to be found in ethnographic analysis. 

A second category of story content is personality depiction. A method is 
required for its study. Dr. Margaret Lantis lately published a treatment of 
personality content in Nunivak Eskimo literature, with the purpose of deducing 
Eskimo features of personality. Like Eskimos, Chinook narrators cited extremely 
few traits of personality for story actors. The paucity of explicitly phrased 
features is like the limitation in anatomical traits carved by abstractionists in 
sculpture. In an oral literature intimated feelings of actors are a reservoir for 
examination of additional traits of personality. Characteristics thereby estab- 
lished for male and female actors of various age grades may be compared. 
Constellations of traits displayed in the behavior of principal actors may be 
contrasted with traits inferred for other actors and people of the living culture. 
An actor's lineaments in the several stories in which he appears are also 
assembled, because his behavior in any single story must have been partly 
shaped by the concept of him which society had concerning his whole per- 
sonality. Procedures employed to identify personality traits in actors give types 
of traits and their frequencies in the literature. These point to unresolved 
stresses in society. Such stresses contain causes of literature content. Although 
single traits of personality expressed in stories probably occurred in living 
individuals, trait clusters which characterize actors may not all tend to be mirror 
reflections of people. Sorties may emphasize needs and values not the totality 
of traits of personality found in a member of the community. 

Humor is a third category of content. It is virtually unexplored in oral 
literatures. Means of studying it include identification of fun stimuli; their 
arrangement in types such as slapstick, incongruity, antifeminine, immaturity, 
old age anxiety, mutilations, and verbal slips ; assemblage of instances of these 
into clusters of factors; and ethnological analysis of reasons why they stimulated 
laughter. A folklorist should supplement field recordings and translations of 
stories with annotations about raconteur and audience responses to humor. He 
should also record many examples of wit and humor apart from the literature. 

Chinook myths contain much humor. Tales contrast sharply. They are 
prevailingly tragic. Myths are less ominous because they deal with personalities 
of fanciful kinds and are dated in an ancient era. Therefore they are richly 
embellished with fun situations. 

In the analysis of humor I again resorted to an arithmetical approach. I 
found that in a group of over one hundred fun-stimulating situations in stories, 
causal components which I recognized averaged over seven items in each 
situation. That is, humorous responses were usually complexly determined. 
Laughter in general seems to be consequent upon multiple stimuli which are 
quickly woven. Some stimuli, perhaps a minority, are consciously selected by a 
storyteller or jokes ter. The role of community discussions in creation of humor 
needs to be assessed against the work of the recitalist. 

The next category of content, also little understood, is values. They may be 
well represented in explicit phrasings in some oral literatures. In others like 
those of the Pacific Northwest States, ideals infrequently received formulation 
because communities utilized pedagogical and other structured means for articu- 
lation of values. Moralistic notions and feelings about the good strait-jacketed 

126 Men and Cultures 

stories, but were not verbally set forth in them. The problem of method 
is, then, to identify, classify, and weigh values upon bases of ethnographic 
research and deductive analysis of social behavior and actors in stories. A related 
problem is to determine how an environment of such values functioned in creation, 
shaping, and transmission of stories. If ethnographic information is spare, 
analysis of values implicitly expressed in a verbal art may suggest points of 
tension in the society, not a full inventory of values. 

Another type of content, cosmology or world view, has long interested folk- 
lorists. An annoying problem arises when collections are made in dying cultures 
whose few survivors fail to recall origin or cosmological narratives. I wish to 
mention only one aspect of my findings on world view as expressed in Chinook 
myths. I believe that it can be shown that concepts termed trickster and trans- 
former, long employed by folldorists of the Pacific Northwest, improperly 
represent actors so designated. The Northwest Coyote, denoted both trickster 
and transformer, is less a cosmological figure than a projection of culturally 
pressured needs to advance from immaturity and unreliability to wisdom and 
responsibility. Changes in the era of myths were more often due to unnamed 
people than to Coyote. He and other actors are primarily announcers not 
manipulators, of things to come. They are projections of informed elders, head- 
men, or persons of unique insight because of possession of potent spirit-powers. 
Mistakes which folklorists made in interpretations of Northwest cosmologies 
show that concepts such as trickster, transformer, and culture hero deserve 
reexamination in each literature. Again, deductions from ethnographic data 
and from probing analysis of the words and behavior of actors will shape 
delineations of the cosmologies which function in literatures. 

Stories always contain mentions of technology, economic production and 
distribution, and similar matters which some writers have termed material 
culture. There may be mentions of rituals and religious behavior. A question 
arises regarding the utility of analysis of such story content. Dr. Franz Boas 
explored this subject more fully than others, in his Tsimshian Mythology. Citation 
of material culture, social life, and religion may be employed not merely as 
evidence of culture traits but, again, as indication of spots where feelings were 
intense and fantasy ventilation was needed. Mentions of various culture traits 
also operate on a stylistic level. The portions of Tsimshian Mythology which present 
features of the culture are potentially contributions to a study of style. They also 
direct attention to emotional needs of the people. 

Embroidery of visual images, so noteworthy in stories of northerly Coast 
groups, contrasts with the minimum of such supplementation in stories recorded 
in southerly Coast groups whose compactness, terseness, rare notations of 
material culture, and suppression of mentions of ritual are striking features of 
their style. One may deduce that rituals in the southerly district served the 
people well. I think that it can be demonstrated that major anxieties of northerly 
Coast peoples resulted in distinctive forms of literary expression and that 
southerly Coast communities had other literary content and forms because of 
lack of those anxieties and presence of different ones. 


Studies of stylistic features of oral literatures have been few. We possess a 
small list of examinations of the epic form, stylized introductions and closings, 
pattern number, and explanatory elements. Many additional traits of style 

Thoughts on Methodology for Comprehension of an Oral Literature 127 

require study. Progress in knowledge depends upon our choice to seek them. 
Each of the entire range of stylized devices and motifs should be treated inde- 
pendently and subsequently exhibited in its connections with the others. If 
ethnographic data are at hand and a collection of stories is sufficiently large, 
well told in the native language, and sensitively rendered in translation, 
important advances can be made in knowledge of creativity, factors in stability, 
and community handling of stylized components. 

A principal feature of folklorists' orientation which has escaped criticism, 
except by a very few writers, is the concept that myths and tales are analogues 
of the West's short story and novel forms. I suggest that myths and tales resemble 
the West's drama rather than its stories and novels. If the analogy is of value, it 
follows that concepts such as prologue, epilogue, one-Act play, two-Act play, 
skit, and Scene may serve as frames to show an aspect of structuring in a major 
verbal art. 

Many features of style may be manipulated with more exactitude by recital- 
ists in their shorter performances. I think that it can be shown that longer stories 
often witness faster internal and stylistic changes than shorter ones, because of 
more community debate about them. Comparative researches might provide 
documentation that would support a thesis that a community and its story- 
tellers tend to examine creatively the content and style of long stories while it 
inclines to leave short compact ones alone. Long ones lack unity of content and 
simplicity or manageability of features of frame. Short ones harden where 
long ones remain pliable. 

Stylized devices such as connectives, pauses, and vocal mannerisms, to effect 
transitions from Scene to Scene or Act to Act in a longer story, are invariably 
discernible in its dictation in the native language. But publications infrequently 
if ever preserve evidences of these devices. Tape recordings, more perceptive 
field observations, and linguistic analysis jointly permit building a descriptive 
body of knowledge about this facet of style. 

Formal beginnings, introductions, or prologues are often so stylized that only 
a recording in the native language allows their scientific manipulation. The same 
applies to titles or other devices by which a community and its narrators refer 
to stories. In a paper to be published in the Journal of American Folk Lore I have 
explored each feature of content and structure in story titles rendered by a 
Chinook informant. 

Story endings or epilogues are frequently complex in content and structure. 
They too may have to be studied on the basis of their utterance in the native 

Magic or pattern numbers which folklorists have long recognized sometimes 
display variability within a single collection. For example, where five dominates 
a verbal art explanations should also be sought for instances of two-, three-, and 
four-patterns in the same corpus of stories. Folklorists have accounted for 
pattern number mainly with surface explanations based upon evidences of 
diffusion and rituals. Causation and maintenance of pattern number may not 
be so simple. I think that among Pacific Northwest peoples four- and five- 
patterns were culturally and psychologically maintained, subtly so, by feelings 
generated in sibling relationships. Factors in the phenomenon of pattern number 
may include feelings of rhythm, pressure of adjacent literatures, rituals, and, 
maybe paradoxically, nuclear family relationships. 

The topic of style contains other classes of formal features. Some which I 
regard as of major importance may be termed repetitive formulae and recurrent 

128 Men and Cultures 

themes. Examples from Northwest literatures include numberless instances 
where the recitalist must select from a variety of terse indicators of location 
which need not be presented to enhance meaning. When he refers to a person of 
poorer station he must say, although everyone knows it, that "she lived in an 
end house." When an actor approaches a village the raconteur must remark, 
"He saw the village below there." When he introduces a headman he must 
say that that worthy "lives in the center of the village." When an actor travels, 
he must "cross five mountains." Occasions when forms of such kinds are 
required should be assembled, classified, and connected with the daily life of 
the people. 

A comparable category of demanded utterances offers datings. An actor 
always leaves on the following never the same day. Or, he does something "for 
so long a time," without further specificity in timing. Or, he does something 
"all the time" or "all day long," when the meaning is simply durative or action 
that is repeated a mere few times. 

Folklorists have regarded as story content recurrent themes or plot devices. 
These comprise another and large class of features which are primarily stylistic. 
In Northwest stories they include announcers of the future world, oldest stupidest, 
youngest smartest, progressive superiority or viciousness in a sequence of siblings, 
the concept of a bride-to-be traveling unchaperoned to the man she desires, 
the breaking of an important artifact as a portent of tragedy, stylized depression, 
vanquishing of an ogre by causing him to overeat, killing an ogre from within 
him, supernaturally effected bad weather, proscribed direction, miraculous 
growth, external heart, arrow ladder, various life tokens, and others too 
numerous to list. Methodological problems include determination, for each 
literature, of their frequency, stylistic role, and sociocultural or other factors 
which pressure their recurrence. 

For generations folklorists have been intrigued by explanatory elements. 
These too often operate stylistically. In the Northwest States few plots or actor 
depictions appear to have been shaped by need to explain the world. Explan- 
atory items in that region are patently a diverting embroidery and only second- 
arily explanatory. They are digressions, asides, peripheral supplements. 
Usually they lighten tension. Their origin seems to lie in community theoriza- 
tion within small districts, for they are rarely diffused over a large area. Their 
content, frequency, forms, and occasions for resort to them should be studied. 

Features of style which are of utmost importance and especially difficult to 
particularize are those which effect speed of delineation of situations and actors, 
and selection of their characteristics. It is not enough to generalize that actions 
are described tersely or that actors are depicted in a few strokes. The folklorist 
needs to inventory traits which the recitalist tends to phrase in order to contrast 
items which he implies and which his audience perceives in context. Written 
literatures exhibit numerous descriptive details because their readers are un- 
familiar with plots and actors. An oral literature contains few or no surprises 
because its audience is its co-author. Recital calls primarily for a stylistically 
adroit presentation, featured perhaps by abstractness, succinctness, and a 
limited permissible selection of descriptive details. Auditors fill in as they 
listen. Their familiarity with, year-round discussions, and manner of trans- 
mission of verbal art account for the style of recital utterance. Each trait of 
style must be traced to such community orientation, participation, and author- 
ship, and to special needs which shaped the etiquette of the recital situation. 
A principal task of research, then, is the onerous one of learning how a com- 

Thoughts on Methodology for Comprehension of an Oral Literature 129 

munity discusses and reworks its literature between recitals. Processes and 
dynamics of verbal arts are sometimes futilely sought in analysis of the stark 
words which storytellers dictate. 


In any oral literature, as in other facets of sociocultural life, careful analysis of 
classified portions of the material displays numerous structurings and multiple 
determinants of varying weights. Patterns enclose patterns. Structurings inter- 
sect, contain, and shape one another. Few have been accorded recognition. 
Because folklore has confined its scholarly efforts to collecting and to study of 
presences and distributions of a few categories such as plots, motifs, and actor 
characteristics, it has not matured as a scientific field of inquiry. It has not dealt 
with other kinds of units of content and style. The opportunity in folklore to 
recognize and arrange its many kinds of phenomena is obvious. The goal is 
comprehension of the dynamics of the entirety of the verbal arts. Exacting 
classification and intensive analyses of all aspects of a literature, following their 
identification, will show the way, if the research is done without minimization 
of sociocultural factors. 

University of Washington, 
Seattle, Washington. 



Felix M. Keesing 

Scattered materials in the literature of cultural dynamics suggest that the 
"recreative" facets of behavior those connected with relaxation, leisure, play, 
entertainment, and similar activities tend under some circumstances to show 
marked persistence, but for the most part are notably open to innovation and 
to crosscultural transfer. Under intervention pressures where, so typically, 
economic, political, and perhaps other areas of choice and expression may be 
blocked by external power, recreative outlets may become focal rallying points 
for self-motivated activity and morale. 

The purpose of this paper is to draw attention to the need for more systema- 
tization in this field, both as regards culture change studies, and more widely 
in terms of general social anthropology theory. As compared, say, with social 
structure, or child rearing, or religion, behavior that is "recreative" gets at 
best an unobtrusive corner in standard monographs. Except for occasional 
items such as Firth's notable analysis of "the dart game in Tikopia" (1930), 
the reporting of child and adult games, entertainment, and the like, tends to be 
formal, with little of the rich psychological, social and cultural texture one 
suspects is really there, both for participants and for spectators. 

Behavior which by human criteria is inferred to be "play" in subhuman 
animals receives wide but rarely more than passing mention by physical 
anthropologists. Fortunately Kroeber has discussed with insight the links 
between "organic play impulses," such as are notably characteristic of the 
young in mammals, and the dynamics of human culture. "In rechanneled 
form," he says, " (they) have motivated great areas of human behavior and 
important achievements in culture . . . not only games and sports, but the 
influence of curiosity, of desire for variety, of mental restlessness in the arts and 
sciences and fashions" (1948). 

Malinowski, to take another of the rare high points in theory, also speaks of 
the "creative element" in recreation. "In primitive civilizations," he states, 
"the vanguard of progress is often found in works of leisure and supererogation 
. . . Advances in skill, scientific discoveries, new artistic motifs (may) filter in 
through the playful activities of recreation, and thus they receive the minimum 
of traditional resistance which is associated with activities not yet taken very 
seriously." By contrast, he adds, many types of games and other amusements 
have rather the function of establishing "social cohesion," as where a "com- 
plete sociological recrystallization " may take place during big public games and 
ceremonies. "In civilized communities," he asserts, "the type of national 
pastime contributes effectively to the national character" (1931). Malinowski, 
Slotkin and some others note how competitive sports may channel conflict and 
aggression into rule-defined, playful behaviors. 

The most elaborated theory developed in this field within anthropology to 
date appears to be that of Bateson, centered on "play." This, he says, is "one 
of the great creative fields of human communication." Its distinctive mark is a 

Recreative Behavior and Culture Change 131 

logical type or frame of reference in which fictional premises hold sway, by 
contrast with those in which truth, reality, dominate, e.g. as with "work." 
"The participants (in a game)," he points out, "set up as fictions the rules of 
that game," including perhaps assumptions of opposition and competition, 
also codified symbols of gain and loss; but, "As we say, 'It's only a game'" 
(1951). Bateson and his associates, in a Stanford sponsored research project, 
have been following up these leads in psychiatric contexts, and by making films 
of animal play. 

Recreation, by and large, is a behavioral zone which is very much an "open" 
system. It is strongly marked by fictional premises, by elective variation, by 
novelty, by risk-taking, by the super-utilitarian, by the non-serious, by relative 
freedom from demanding goal-orientations and strong sanctions. It is far- 
ranging, with many possible types of structured group activity, yet also much 
that is informal and personal, as with humor, fantasy, or even "just sitting 
around." Like magic it has what might be called "white" facets of public, 
approved behavior, and also "black" facets of private, subversive behavior as 
with salacity, pornography and obscenity. In terms of function, a particular 
kind of recreation may activate in varying degree such elements as (1) "pleas- 
urable" or "hedonistic" affects, which are always likely to be stressed; 
(2) organically "relaxing," "energy restoring" results in the busy or tired 
person, or an "outlet for excess energy" in the case of the zestful; (3) "integra- 
tive" or "reinforcing" influences upon individual or group, making for stability, 
cohesion, high morale; (4) "therapeutic" or " sublimative " results as often 
channeling off conflicts, aggressions, hostilities; (5) "creative" or "reintegra- 
tive" tendencies, as offering fields for nimble innovation and self-expression; 
(6) "communicative" functions, as in learning and habit formation, notably 
among children, but also among adults; and (7) a frequently "symbolic" 
significance, as in "playing out" important cultural values and premises, e.g. 
as with many toys. 

Most of these broad characteristics are also shared by recreation's close 
cultural relatives, art and religion. Both of these behavioral zones also have 
frames of reference different from those of everyday "reality" activities, though 
with art subordinating the playful to the aesthetic, and religion using it in the 
interests of the sacred. Titiev sees "games of chance" as notably like religion 
in challenging men to find out about the unknown (1954). Moreover, for the 
individual, perhaps any activity no matter how serious, as with work or wor- 
ship, may in a given situation become invested, if not with fictional premises, 
at least with the mood of the relaxing, the playful, the entertaining. Inversely, 
recreation may transmute into the serious: not only do we sometimes say 
"This work is like a game" but "That game was hard work." Fortunately, if 
a clearcut definition of the "recreational" in activity is somewhat elusive, the 
field worker can apparently always find in the action categories and in the 
vocabulary of any people he is studying these zones which they count recreation. 
No Samoan has difficulty in recognizing ajiafia, an occasion for play and festi- 
vity. The English Thesaurus, whether we start with the French root of recreation 
("giving fresh life") or the Anglo-Saxon root of play (" quick motion," "frolic") 
branches out into dozens of words categorizing such behavior. 

With this all too brief background discussion, we may turn more specifically 
to recreation and culture change. The anthropological literature has scattered 
materials on the development and diffusion of particular games (Tylor pub- 
lished two papers on the subject as early as 1879), and also of dances, songs, 

132 Men and Cultures 

and other relevant items. So-called acculturation studies also frequently con- 
tain at least passing reference to the retention or abandonment of old recrea- 
tional forms, the adoption of new ones, and perhaps some reformulations of 
old and new which occur in the local contexts. Modern Hawaiians, and 
emulating whites and Asians, maintain or revive the cult of flowers, dancing, 
canoeing, surfriding, though with modifications which in some instances come 
via Hollywood or Broadway. American Indian "Fairs" may include exhibi- 
tions (with an admission charge) of lacrosse, archery, dancing, gay with modern 
pan-Indian regalia based on what white people expect Indians to be like. 
Applied anthropology reports may have particularly useful glimpses into this 
behavioral area ; discussions, for example, of cultural loss through government 
or missionary expurgation of older recreational outlets ; or again of attempts at 
substitution as where in Papua government anthropologist Williams gave out 
soccer footballs as an alternative to intergroup war feuds. 

Any field worker could add detailed observations to the published record. 
In 1951, the writer's jeep bumping down the Kokoda trail in Papua was stopped 
several times by villagers wanting to use the tire pump to blow up their foot- 
balls. Maori villages in New Zealand, after traditional canoe races and dance 
exhibitions, may turn to a rugby football game or a tennis tournament. In 
Samoa, song, dance, and drama are creative traditions being added to constant- 
ly, and the village cricket pitch may have the adolescent boy and the dignified 
titleholder practicing together. In Western Samoa, during an anti-government 
movement of the 1920s, the locally adapted form of cricket was made the 
excuse for covert assemblies forbidden by the government, and, when men 
were prohibited by law from playing, their wives ostentatiously played cricket 
and politics instead. 

Recognizing the great need for further systematic ethnographic data and 
crosscultural comparison, a few more generalized hypotheses may be tried out 
here to show the kinds of theoretical leads which are open. First, a traditional 
recreative activity appears likely to persist when it has continuing functional 
relation to social structure, child training, religion, or other behaviors pervaded 
by focal values. It might, for example, have learning or symbolic functions. 
The lacrosse that the writer has seen so-called " pagan " Menomini Indians 
play at a burial ground in memorializing the dead has a vastly different 
context from the lacrosse of their tourist exhibitions. The latter, however, 
illustrates how formal elements of old recreative behavior may become 
meaningfully integrated into a changing context, and so show partial per- 
sistence. Stability may also show where an old activity still affords "recreative" 
satisfactions, as, say, with a pattern of humor or a story, so that its maintenance 
is a matter of conscious preference over alternatives. The observer usually finds 
here, however, that changes can occur freely in the details of the activity, just 
as also in its general context where the wider milieu is changing. A festive oc- 
casion along acculturative frontiers is likely to be a kaleidoscope of old and new. 

Granting selective tendencies to persistence, the recreative zone of culture 
appears likely to be well in the van of change, as with new sports, card games, 
popularity of movies, construction of "playgrounds." To the extent that 
recreative outlets involve elective, idiosyncratic, self-expressive, competitive, 
and other behaviors characteristic of an "open" system, change tends to be 
nimble, with innovation and culture transfer likely to occur freely (Keesing, 
1949, 1953). Correspondingly an agency of intervention is likely to find 
recreation to be an area of great vulnerability within a cultural system. Govern- 

Recreative Behavior and Culture Change 133 

ments, for example, may deliberately use holiday entertainments, school sports, 
exhibitions, and other activities as means to wider ends such as rallying political 
loyalties or reducing tensions. The "model village" of an overseas development 
scheme will surely include a sportsground. Here, too, as a new recreative 
element enters the fresh cultural context, it may readily undergo form-function 
modifications, just as "football" has differentiated into a number of game types. 

In the initial paragraph, reference was made to how, when economic, 
political, or other areas of choice and expression may be blocked by inter- 
vention of an external power, recreative outlets may become rallying points for 
self-motivated activity and morale. Such behaviors may here become focal, 
even if to use Bateson's concept the "fictional" premises might seem to repre- 
sent a compensatory or escapist substitute for a "reality" frame of reference. 
Studies by Herskovits and others of Afro-American recreative behaviors appear 
to provide data of relevance here. The emphasis often given to such outlets in 
the course of movements involving cultural reformulation, as in historical 
settings of colonialism and of nationalism, can also be profitably studied, noting 
both the " integrative " and the "therapeutic" functions which recreative 
classes of activity may serve. These may range from public recreative and related 
artistic activities to the subrosa political joke counted subversive by a dominant 

The writer once suggested years ago that such a people as the Polynesian 
Samoans may have the "highest standards of leisure" known to date in the 
worlds of human culture. With the machine doing more and more of the work 
of our own society, and with many of our basic premises in flux, recreation bids 
fair to become much more of a focal area in our value orientations than our 
present social dogma admits. "Play," which by and large seems to have per- 
tained most fully in human societies to the statuses of youth and of the old, 
now battles increasingly against the preoccupation of young and mature 
adults with what we call "work," even with the "serious." A future society 
pervaded by the technology of automation might have to give recreation a 
prominence which even a Samoan could well wonder at. 

Stanford University 9 
Stanford, California. 


Bateson, C. 

1951. (With Ruesch, J.) Communication: The Social Matrix of Psychiatry. New York. 
Pp. 226-227. 

1955. "A Theory of Play and Fantasy," Psychiatric Research Reports, 2 : 39-51. 
Firth, R. 

1950. "A Dart Game in Tikopia," Oceania, 1 : 64-96. 
Keesing, F. H. 

1949. " Cultural Dynamics and Administration," Proceedings, Seventh 'Pacific Science 
Congress, Auckland, New Zealand, 7 : 111-112. 

1955. Culture Change. An Analysis and Bibliography of Anthropological Sources to 1952. 

Stanford. Pp. 82-^84. 
Kroeber, A. L. 

1948. Anthropology. Revised edition, New York. Pp. 29, 255, 257-291. 
Malinowski, B. 

193 L "Culture," Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, Vol. 2, pp. 642-643. 
Slotkin, J. S. 

1950. Social Anthropology. New York. Pp. 272-274, 279-281. 


Clyde Kluckhohn 

Whitehead was right when he said that classification is only a half-way house in 
science. On the other hand, I think L. J. Henderson was equally correct in 
saying that in science any classification is better than no classification. A classifi- 
cation is useful to the degree that it sheds light on the relation between one set 
of facts and another. By a " typology" I mean precisely a classification that is 
explicitly theoretical in intent as opposed to one intended purely as a descriptive 

Anthropology has had both typologies and empirical groupings for con- 
venience. There have been the asserted evolutionary stages, posited with 
varying degrees of refinement. There have been categorizations based on selected 
criteria that were immediately observable: phenotypic "races"; culture areas; 
agglutinative, polysynthetic, and isolating languages. Categories based on a 
single feature whether technological, social, or psychological, have also been 
used. Thus we have spoken of plough or matrilineal or Dionysian cultures. 
Quite recently, certain typologies have been presented that exhibit some 
scientific precision or logical rigor or fairly adequate microscopic attention to 
the complexity of the data. I cannot give an exhaustive listing, but will limit 
myself to examples from publications in English. One may instance the classifi- 
cations by Boyd 1 and others of genetically similar populations; Greenberg 2 
and Voegelin 3 of linguistic typology; Steward 4 and his associates on types of 
multilinear evolution; Linton's 5 typology of nativistic movements. Redfield's 
work for many years has had a focus on an essentially typological problem: 
that of the folk society or little community. His theses have provoked much 
controversy 6 but are gradually illuminating many issues of the theory of types. 
It would be generally agreed that the British social anthropologists and certain 
Americans, such as Murdock and Eggan, have significantly advanced the 
typology of kinship and allied aspects of social structure. Levy-Strauss 7 has 
proposed a typology of orders (kinship, social organization, and social stratifi- 
cation) and of types of connection between spatial arrangements of residence 
and kinds of social organization. He has likewise boldly suggested that social 
anthropology, linguistics, and economics can all be grouped into the single 
master field of communication. 

Such concepts as "antagonistic acculturation" constitute a beginning for 
one typology of process. Vogt 8 has sketched a performance typology. Wallace 9 
has sketched some types of events. Last year two typologies 10 of South American 
social structure were published. We have had at these meetings a typology of 
Indian cultures of California and are to hear a paper on the typology of the 
Japanese family. One could give many more examples, of course. 

Steward's theory seems to be the most general and thoroughgoing to date 
within cultural anthropology. That of Trager and Hall 11 is also extremely 
interesting and more along the lines of the present paper. Steward distinguishes 
between culture types and classifications based on areas or value systems. He 

The Use of Typology in Anthropological Theory 135 

elaborates concepts for determining cross-cultural types. 12 His own central 
concept is based upon two frames of reference : cultural features derived from 
synchronic, functional, and ecological factors; features represented by a parti- 
cular diachronic or developmental level. 13 He asserts 14 that cross-culturally 
valid categories will apply only to similar cultural types i.e., types that 
recur in a multi-evolutionary scheme will be distinguished by unique cate- 

The publications of the past decade make it evident that anthropology is 
moving toward more ramified and more sophisticated typologies. But much 
remains to be done. Most classifications are still either crudely empirical or 
grossly impressionistic. We are relatively rich in content categories but poor in 
conceptual or relational categories. Steward 15 agrees that we shall "have to 
distinguish innumerable culture types, many of which have not yet been 
recognized." Anthropologists of all branches need to study the elegant work of 
their linguistic colleagues and also the related fields of mathematical logic such 
as set theory. In spite of GodePs Proof, Russell's Theory of Logical Types 16 
deserves the close attention of anthropologists, for perhaps the most frequent 
and serious error in anthropological theory continues to be that of confusion of 
levels of abstraction. Many anthropological typologies are not firmly based 
upon the postulate that there must be a discontinuity between a class and its 
members. In general, anthropologists dealing with the theory of typology could 
well study the careful work of contemporary philosophers upon this subject. 
Ryle, 17 for example, says of the determination of types: 

It has long been known that what a proposition implies, it implies in virtue 
of its form. The same is true of what it is compatible and incompatible with. 
Let us give the name "liasons" to all the logical relations of a proposition, 
namely what it implies, what it is implied by, what it is compatible with, 
and what it is incompatible with. Now, any respect in which two propositions 
differ in form will be reflected in differences in their liasoiis. So two proposi- 
tions which are formally similar in all respects save that one factor in one is 
different from a partially corresponding factor in the other, will have liasons 
which are correspondingly dissimilar. . . . The operation of extracting the 
type of a factor cannot exclude the operation of revealing the liaisons of a 
proposition embodying it. 

There are two principal kinds of problems where typology is relevant to 
anthropological theory. The first is less abstract. This is that of assigning a bio- 
logical or cultural specimen (or a piece of behavior) to the group to which it 
belongs. This is pre-eminently the task of biological anthropologists, of archaeo- 
logists, of museum ethnologists. Is a tooth ape or human? Does a pot most 
nearly approach "the ideal type" of Wingate Black-on-White or a similar but 
different pottery category? Here statistical procedures are often appropriate. 
The discriminant function 18 should determine whether a tooth is ape or human, 
assuming it belongs to one of these groups. The S-function is used to test whether the 
set of measurements is such as to make it likely that it is a member of a particular 
category. Since one cannot or should not measure everything, one is still 
faced with discovering what measurements are crucial or most economical to 
obtain such sortings. Moreover, while it is often essential to obtain the critical 
matrix of dimensions, measurement in and of itself may be either insufficient or 
actually misleading in localizing an object or event in a time or space or time- 
space category. Bronowski and Long say: "... even when no single dimension 

136 Men and Cultures 

shows a significant variation from its group mean, the total configuration may 
still be wrong." 19 

The second class of typological problems is that of establishing groups or 
orders rather than that of assigning an individual entity to such a category. So 
far as typologies based on content are concerned, the principles involved are 
relatively simple, however difficult the detailed execution may become. One 
makes certain that the criteria chosen are actually relevant to the purpose or 
purposes at hand, and one investigates the inter-correlation or inter-association 
of these criteria so that one is not merely compounding the effects of one or two 
criteria. One makes one's fundamenta divisionis completely explicit, and one 
follows them consistently. One keeps one's levels of abstraction straight. 

Typologies of relations are more complicated and less explored, save, to an 
increasing degree, in the areas of linguistics and social structure. Although I am 
profoundly convinced that linguistics supplies invaluable models, I shall for 
the rest of this paper limit myself to cultural anthropology in the narrow sense 
and indicate some directions that I believe might profitably be followed. These 
center on ways of developing typologies of cultural structure. This implies 
"models" rather than empirical generalizations. The "models" must embrace 
as much empirical fact as is convenient to the conception proposed or the 
hypothesis to be tested and must not be contradicted by any pertinent datum. 
But " models," by definition, represent relationships regularly prevailing between 
strictly selected assemblages of fact; they do not and cannot encompass a total 
cultural inventory. 

A typology of cultures, it seems to me, should be directed toward such 
questions as the following: 

What is apparently incompatible with what else? For example, are patrilocal 
bands never found among sedentary peoples who depend primarily upon 
agriculture for subsistence? 

What is extremely likely to be found with what else? For instance, is culturally 
approved aggression against distributive minorities found mainly in an "atom- 
istic social order," 20 whereas a channeling toward segmental minorities is 
characteristic of more centralized social organizations? Are, as Murdock 21 
suggests, the features ascribed to folk societies particularly associated with 
peoples practicing local endogamy? 

Are some concatenations of cultural features or elements indifferent as far 
as minimal necessary coherence of the system is concerned and hence found 
associated or not associated merely as a result of the accidents of the historical 

Enough information is now available to make possible the construction of a 
first approximation to an analogue of the chemical table of atomic elements. 22 
Which combinations of cultural elements are, apparently, "impossible"; 
which are very rare and probably due to exceptional circumstances; which are 
so frequent as to be statistically predictable ; on which is no guess justified one 
way or the other? 

Such enquiry, exposing the principles of cultural structure, would take us 
some distance toward ranging cultures in an orderly way as to their respective 
similarities and differences. It would also help us to isolate wherein rests the 
distinctiveness of each particular culture at a given time level the "without- 
which-not" of that culture. We require, of course, to deal with flow as well as 
fixity, typologies of process as well as of form. Seen through time, another 
dimension would be opened up. When a cultural structure assumes a radical 

The Use of Typology in Anthropological Theory 137 

alteration in form, what changes first ? Is Murdock's thesis that shift in the rules 
of residence most often initiates other major shifts in social structure an in- 
variant property of human social organization generally or only an important 
statistical generalization which will turn out to be less valid for some types of 
cultures than for others ? In short, systematic work on the typology of cultures 
should reveal what Kroeber 23 has called: ". . . the larger configurations 
inherent in the multitudinous data : configurations or classes that carried hidden 
in themselves their derivations, their historical relations." 

This refers first and foremost to the implicit culture. And, if I am correct in 
thinking that the key to selectivity in the implicit culture is the value system, it 
means the devising of standard operations for exposing the value system with 
its hierarchy. My assumption is that every such system could be parsimoniously 
described in terms of not less than about ten nor more than about twenty key 
values and their relations of interdependence and especially superordination- 
subordination. Perhaps by a kind of scaling technique the number of " essential" 
or "distinctive" values could be reduced to a few, but, even if plausible on 
logical grounds, this requires empirical demonstration. Although the methods 
should, I think, be quite different, the objective resembles that of factor analysis. 
One wants to find out what value "loadings" give recognizably distinct 
character to each cultural structure. One avenue to this end is the cross-cultural 
comparison of what values are found in complementary, coincident, incor- 
porating, and overlapping distribution. 24 

We continue to be plagued, of course, by the twin dilemmas of what con- 
stitutes "a culture" and what units within such cultures can properly be 
compared. On the first point, I would slightly paraphrase L6vy-Strauss 25 and 

A culture is a set of patterns of and for behavior prevalent among a group 
of human beings which, from the point of view of the research at hand and 
of the scale on which it is being carried out, presents, in relation to other such 
sets, significant discontinuities. 

As to the second point, it remains unfortunately a fact that the conceptual 
apparatus of cultural anthropology still does not supply culture-free elemental 
units comparable to the phoneme and the morpheme. I do believe that some 
workers in social structure and folklore 26 (Goodenough and Sebeok, for 
example) have almost formulated the procedures for isolating such units. I 
suspect it is significant that Sebeok is a linguist and that Goodenough has been 
much influenced by linguistics. Much in the history of science in this century 
(physics, neurology, information theory to name only a few fields) suggests 
that the dichotomous oppositions or principle of complementarity applied by 
the linguists with such signal success deserve sustained trial in the realm" of 
culture in general. Niels Bohr 27 says : 

. . . the viewpoint of "complementarity" forms indeed a consistent generaliza- 
tion of the ideal of causality . . . the trend of modern psychology can be 
characterized as a reaction against the attempt at analyzing psychical 
experience into elements which can be associated in the same way as are the 
results of measurements in classical physics. In introspection, it is clearly 
impossible to distinguish sharply between the phenomena themselves and 
their conscious perception, and although we may often speak of lending our 
attention to some particular aspect of a psychical experience, it will appear 

138 Men and Cultures 

on closer examination that we really have to do, in such cases, with mutually 
exclusive situations. . . . The main obstacle to an unprejudiced attitude 
towards the relation between various human cultures is ... the deep-rooted 
differences of the traditional backgrounds on which the cultural harmony in 
different human societies is based and which exclude any simple comparison 
between such cultures. It is above all in this connexion that the viewpoint 
of complementarity offers itself as a means of coping with the situation. In 
fact, when studying human cultures different from our own, we have to deal 
with a particular problem of observation which on closer consideration shows 
many features in common with atomic or psychological problems . . . 

In my opinion, proper units for comparison will be arrived at along linguistic 
lines by determining contrastive categories rather than by any amount of 
measurement. As Levy-Strauss 28 remarks, ". . . there is no necessary connection 
between measure and structure. 9 ' Meyer Schapiro 29 has reminded us that the 
history of art shows that one can sometimes actually get greater precision by 
dealing with qualities. Anthropologists should avoid the mistake made by many 
American social psychologists and sociologists of putting a naive faith in 
numbers and especially in statistics. 

The investigations by the botanist, Edgar Anderson, 30 constitute a dramatic 
paradigm of warning: graphic representation of a few features enabled biologists 
and many non-biologists to differentiate correctly two species, even when they 
were not told the number of species involved. In contrast, analysis of variance 
and regression techniques yielded inconclusive or much less efficient results. 
Anderson comments: 

If one sets out to analyze the difference between two species, the actual 
data are individual plants or animals, each individual a multiple-sense- 
impression of size, shape, color, texture, etc. . . . To analyze the nature of 
these differences we need to make a selection among the thousands of sense- 
impressions which come to us from each specimen . . . the two species may be 
completely separated by the resultant of seven variables even though any 
single variable would not suffice when used singly. . . . An impressive 
proportion of the best discriminators refer to pattern ... In problems invol- 
ving multiple sense impression, such as differences between species or 
varieties, where from each individual a seemingly infinite number of numerical 
facts could be derived . . . the customary methods of biometry are still in- 
appropriate and ineffective. . . . Pointer readings are not more exact than any 
other kind of precise record . . . species are differentiated by combinations 
of characters more certainly than by single characters . . . (Emphases mine.) 

I submit that there is a suggestive analogue here for the anthropologist trying to 
discriminate cultural "species" and sub-cultural varieties. The issue is that of 
discovering means for selecting the significant and perhaps representing 
these features along the lines of the very interesting graphical techniques 
proposed by Anderson. If operations are firmly specified, "qualitative" judg- 
ments can be as systematic and as rigorous as quantitative ones. In another 
paper, 31 Anderson reminds us : 

Biology has advanced most rapidly when appropriate qualitative measures 
have been developed and used with precision. In Genetics, for example, the 
fundamental data are qualitative. Once obtained they are treated with such 

The Use of Typology in Anthropological Theory 139 

precision that most geneticists probably think of their work as purely quanti- 
tative. But the fundamental categories, "vestigial" vs. "non-vestigial," 
"scute" vs. "non-scute," "forked" vs. "non-forked," etc. are quite as 
qualitative as the fundamental categories of taxonomy. ... If the methods of 
Drosophila genetics were purely quantitative, the flies would not be classified 
in qualitative categories but their wing lengths, eye diameters, etc. would be 
laboriously measured. Imagine the difficulties of conducting a Drosophila 
experiment in which the only available data were the lengths and breadths of 
the wings! Genetics has been able to advance because it was willing to take 
the Mendelian recessive (a qualitative unit about whose ultimate significance 
relatively little was known) and to use that unknown but recognizable 
entity as a basic unit. 

For typological models of structure and of process we need to abstract from 
immediately visible "reality," disengaging the accidental by including in the 
models only those aspects of the observable that are relevant to the model being 
constructed. This means, among other things, as Goodenough 32 has shown in a 
brilliant example of the kind of analysis I am advocating, carefully distinguishing 
those phenomena which do tend to be associated with a particular category 
from those which are essential criteria for membership in that class. Only 
thus can we trace the intersection of systems with formally independent structure. 
Only in this way can we isolate the organizing principles that determine both 
the character of sectors of a culture and the patterning of the whole. We must, 
as the linguists have done, identify the significant structure points and classify 
accordingly, isolating the units at each succeeding level of complexity. 

Eventually we can, I believe, describe the compositional pattern of each 
culture and construct a comparative grammar and a comparative syntax of 
cultures. All grammars limit freedoms and control choices. A comparative 
grammar of culture would delimit the necessities in cultural development: 
what features must precede or be associated with what others ? Only the inten- 
sive and systematic study of variation, and variation through time, revealing 
the latent structures and latent concepts and incomplete paradigms, can make 
a grammar of cultures possible. 

Harvard University, 
Cambridge, Massachusetts. 


1. See, for example, his chapter in Anthropology Today. 

2. "A Quantitative Approach to the Morphological Typology of Language,'* 
pp. 192-2 1 1, in : Robert Spencer (Ed.) Method and Perspective in Anthropology, Minneapolis, 
University of Minnesota Press, 1954. See also: Paul Menzerath, "Typology of 
Languages," Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 22 : 698-701, 1950. 

3. "On Developing New Typologies and Revising Old Ones," Southwestern Journal of 
Anthropology, 11: 355-361, 1955. 

4. Theory of Culture Change, Urbana, University of Illinois Press, 1955. 

5. "Nativistic Movements," American Anthropologist, 45 : 230-239, 1943. 

6. For a thoughtful discussion, see F. G. Friedmann in The Peasant, A Symposium 
Concerning the Peasant Way and View of Life, Number 7 (May, 1956). Mimeographed; 
Department of Philosophy, University of Arkansas. 

7. His chapter, *' Social Structure," in Anthropology Today. 

8. "The Southwestern Fiesta System," American Anthropologist, 57 : 820-839, 1955. 

9. "A Science of Human Behaviour," Explorations, 3 : 127-137, 1954. 

140 Men and Cultures 

10. Kalervo Oberg, "Types of Social Structure among the Lowland Tribes of South 
and Central America," American Anthropologist, 57 (1955), pp. 472-487. E. R. Wolf, 
"Types of Latin-American Peasantry," American Anthropologist, 57 : 452-471, 1955. 

11. "Culture and Communication," Explorations, 3 : 137-249, 1954. 

12. Op. cit., Chapters 1 through 5. 

13. Ibid., Chapter 5. 

14. Ibid., p. 81. 

15. Ibid., p. 24. 

16. This is not itself a "typology" but has far-reaching implications for the con- 
struction of typologies. 

17. "Categories," in: Logic and Language (second series), Oxford (England), Basil 
Blackwell, 1953, pp. 79-80. 

18. Cf. J. Bronowski and W. M. Long, "Statistics of Discrimination in Anthropology," 
American Journal of Physical Anthropology (1952), 10 : 385-395, 1952. 

19. Ibid., p. 389. 

20. Cf. John Honigmann, "The Testing of Hypotheses in Anthropology," American 
Anthropologist, 54: 429-432, 1952. 

21. "Changing Emphases in Social Structure," Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, 
11: 36 1-371, p. 365, 1955. 

22. C. L^vy-Strauss, "Language and the Analysis of Social Laws," American Anthro- 
pologist, 53 : 155-164, 1951. 

23. Method and Perspective in Anthropology, (op. cit.), p. 275. 

24. Cf. C. Kluckhohn, "Toward a Comparison of Value-Emphases in Different 
Cultures," in: Leonard White (Ed.), The State of The Social Sciences, Chicago, University 
of Chicago Press, 1956. 

25. Anthropology Today, p. 536. 

26. Stith Thompson's much earlier work on the classification of motifs was an 
important precursor of the search for elemental units in folklore that are relatively 

27. "Natural Philosophy and Human Cultures," Nature, 143 : 268-272, 1939. 

28. Anthropology Today, p. 528. 

29. Ibid., p. 290. 

30. "Efficient and Inefficient Methods of Measuring Species Differences," in: 
Statistics and Mathematics in Biology, (O. Kempthorne et al., Eds.), Ames, Iowa, Iowa State 
College Press, 1954. 

31. "Hybridization in American Tradescantias," Annals of the Missouri Botanical 
Garden, 23:511-525, 1936. 

32. " Componential Analysis and the Study of Meaning," Language, 32: 195-217, 


Alex D. Krieger 

This study will be concerned only with methods of analyzing material remains 
recovered by archeologists. The remarks pertain only to trends among New 
World archeologists. The writer is not familiar with any recent publications 
by Old World scholars which clarify or formulate their opinions on the meaning 
of the word "type," but it is believed that these observations will apply equally 
to Old World archeology. In both regions, "type" has been applied in a 
multitude of ways, usually without definition. 

While many disciplines can be pursued without recourse to a typology, 
in archeology as well as biology it is absolutely necessary to achieve a solid 
basis for organizing vastly complex material objects, if only to discuss their 
meaning intelligently in terms that can be generally understood. Without a 
typology, the results of research in these fields cannot be effectively compared 
with one another, nor can any individual possibly remember the details of 
structure, distribution, and interrelationships of the forms which occur, even in 
limited regions. 

In 1952 Julian Huxley stated that anthropologists are at least forty years 
behind biologists in devising effective methods and procedures for organizing 
their data and observations. If this statement is true for anthropologists in 
general (and I think it is), it applies even more so to archeologists, whose work 
is, in the main, with material objects which are as suitable for objective treat- 
ment as the enormously complex organic world studied by biologists. 

A common explanation that archeologists give if they give any at all is 
that the artifacts, houses, graves, settlement plans, and artistic works of man are 
more complex, more subtly intergraded, and more difficult to analyze than the 
products of nature; that species are controlled by laws of genetics, are more 
rigidly predetermined than the products of human activity, and are therefore 
more easily discovered. Such an attitude not only reflects ignorance of the 
incredible complexities which have faced biologists in their search for a workable 
taxonomy, but it in no way justifies the fact that archeologists even now, in 
1956, have no particular common techniques for creating typologies, or even 
agreements on what the term "type" should connote. 

The question of what typological problems archeologists and biologists have 
or do not have in common has been extensively reviewed by Brew (1946: 
44-66). While Brew has attacked the whole species concept as full of unworkable 
defects, it is inconceivable that biological science could have progressed as far 
as it has without this concept. Brew repeatedly stresses the point that there 
is no "natural" or inherent classification in nature or in the products of man; 
but he neglects the other side of the question, namely, that biological research 
has long been directed at discovering consistency in the combination of structural 
features through time and space distributions. While one may admit that the 
search for "basic" or "most important" criteria as the basis for a taxonomy 
leads only to confusion and frustration both in biology and archeology 

142 Men and Cultures 

this does not disturb the fact that, with intensive study, it has often been possible 
to discover that a combination of morphological features can be shown to occur 
again and again to the extent that this combination can be recognized in practice 
by almost anyone. 

One has only to look at the many manuals that have been produced by 
biologists, for example the handbooks on birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, 
fishes, flowers, etc., to realize that, despite all defects and unsolved problems, 
they are infinitely farther along than archeologists are in the discovery of types. 
Among biologists, a variety is a deviation from "normal" which may occur at 
any time at any place within the general distribution of a species; and a 
subspecies is a debatable concept, applied to a deviation which may or may not 
have the status of a species or a variety. Whatever the individual worker's 
attitude toward the placement of individual specimens may be, it is clear that a 
typology or speciation is not an end in itself, but a framework within which one carries 
on research. Within such a framework, anyone can discuss his opinions as to what 
should or should not go into previously recognized species. 

What has archeology produced that is comparable in concept? It is not that 
archeologists fail to apply themselves, for they certainly do in their field methods. 
Field methods may be said to have been virtually perfected for the last decade 
or two; not only does the modern excavation involve infinite care and labor, 
but it reveals a fine sense of obligation to scientific principles. 

The same cannot be said of laboratory principles or procedures. While 
everyone realizes that artifacts must be classified, if only to reduce repetitious 
description, it is not at all well understood what the act of classification is supposed 
to accomplish beyond this. If the ultimate purpose is to define "units of culture " 
which may be compared with one another and used to understand the growth 
and diffusion of culture, then it is strange that archeologists can be satisfied 
with "types" that are devised in scores of different ways. Even within the same 
region, different workers follow different assumptions and procedures, so that 
where one worker sees seven "types" of figurines, let us say, another may see 
as many as sixty "types." The same degree of divergency in results applies to 
the study of pottery, projectile points, and all other classes of material; yet 
attempts are constantly made to place these results in tabular form to show 
degrees of relationship between levels, sites, and areas. Again, some workers 
freely use the word "type" for parts of specimens, or even as a synonym for 
specimen when we read of "unusual types" when the author means "unclassified 

It will be well to note that there is nothing particularly new about man's 
desire to classify objects and phenomena of all kinds. Man has probably been 
devising words to indicate distinctions between different kinds of animals, 
plants, fruits, fish, weather, etc., as well as differences in size, dimensions, weight, 
temperament, and the like ever since he has had language. Anthropologists 
have often been struck with the extensive vocabularies of even the most primitive 
societies, resulting from some basic urge to designate differences between all 
manner of natural phenomena as well as objects produced by man himself 
that is, to classify. 

The principal new element is that science demands greater and greater 
precision, and needs to know by what criteria various units, kinds, or "types" 
can be recognized, so that different workers can have maximum assurance 
that they are talking about the same things and comparing phenomena that 
really are comparable. Probably only the "pure sciences" of mathematics, 

Archeological Typology in Theory and Practice 143 

chemistry, and physics may be said to be approaching optimum agreement on 
units of observation and measurement. The earth sciences and biology have 
been somewhat less successful but far more so than social sciences. Statistical 
treatments are now a common research activity in the latter disciplines but 
there is still a great deal of argument about how raw material should be 
organized and for what purposes before statistical methods are to be applied. 
In archeology, any conclusions based on statistical methods are open to criticism 
as long as the " units of culture" (traits or types) are attained by guesswork or 
purely personal inclinations. 


Before examining the literature, I should like to repeat a distinction made 
some years ago (Krieger, 1944) between classification and typology. The two terms 
have, of course, generally been regarded as synonyms, and probably few will 
agree that they can or need be distinguished. However, I prefer to think of 
classification as any act of sorting or designating, and of a typology as a more 
orderly system of actions, obeying certain laws or principles. Thus, anyone can 
classify in any number of ways, but a typological (or taxonomic) system can 
only be attained in a limited number of ways, must have a clear aim, and 
requires considerable knowledge of how the material occurs in space, time, and 

Many "classification schemes " have been proposed for archeological material. 
When accompanied by explanation (many are not), the purposes of such 
schemes are usually said to be "convenience in remembering" or the discovery 
of "universal relationships." In America they have been directed mainly at 
two classes of artifacts: chipped-stone (principally projectile points) and pottery. 
Whatever the author's intentions, methods, or assumptions, the results are 
always called "types." Few authors have bothered to explain what a "type" 
means to them; the sorting comes first and the result is then automatically a 
set of "types." 

Perhaps the earliest classifications of stone artifacts in America were those of 
Rau (1876), Fowke (1896), and Wilson (1899). These took the form of charts 
that is, a system of cubbyholes into which specimens were to be placed. 
In the 1920's and 1930's a great deal of labor went into creating some hundreds 
of pottery "types" in the southwest United States, using for the first time a 
system of naming rather than designation by numbers or symbols. These were 
compiled in the manuals of Hargrave (1932), Hawley (1936, revised in 1950), 
and Colton and Hargrave (1937), while many additional descriptions appeared 
in the publications of Colton, Kidder, Shepard, Gladwin, Haury, Sayles, 
McGregor, and others. 

Although these Southwestern pottery types were accompanied by extremely 
little explanation of the methods or philosophy involved and recently a 
reaction has set in which questions how many of them are really distinctive 
types and how many were too hastily concocted from minor local variations in 
technique Southwestern archeologists appear to feel that experience has 
supported the reality of most of them : that is, they can be recognized by many 
different workers, and they have value in historical reconstructions. 

The principal of naming Southwestern pottery types was an extremely 
important advance over charts designated by symbols, for, with it, new types 
could be added or obsolete ones dropped, without disturbing the others. It 

144 Men and Cultures 

must be noted, however, that even the Southwestern archeologists have con- 
tinued to use classification charts for objects other than pottery. Meanwhile 
the naming of pottery types (commonly called the "binomial system") has 
spread to the Southeastern states, Northeast, Middle West, Plains, Middle 
America, and South America, roughly in that order, and in recent years a 
similar system of describing and naming projectile-point types has appeared in 
Texas, the Mississippi Valley, and the Plains. 

Going back to the creation of classification charts, Gifford and Schenck 
published, in 1926, portions of a projectile-point scheme devised by Strong, who 
later published it in full (Strong, 1935). The Strong chart immediately became 
widely adopted among United States archeologists as "the official system," 
so that projectile points throughout the land which more or less fitted the out- 
lines shown on the chart were automatically called "types," each designated by 
a code of letters and numbers. It was mentioned above that some sections of the 
country now follow a more realistic method in outlining types (or at least 
groups) which are described for their own sake and labeled with names. How- 
ever, in the western states, the Strong chart is still widely used and it is still 
used in the Plains area for points which are relatively late in time, while the 
oldest ones are named ! 

In the 1920's and 1930's many other classification charts, mainly for projectile 
points, were offered by Deuel (1927), Greenman (1929), Nelson (1929), 
Renaud (1931, 1934), Kidder (1932), Black and Weer (1936), Cole and 
Deuel (1937), and Finkelstein (1937). Deuel (1927), Nelson (1929), and Renaud 
(1931) were unpublished manuscripts. Of all these authors, only Nelson dis- 
cussed at any length the theoretical grounds on which the "types" were to be 
based, stating that artifacts could be arranged in a set order similar to the 
"natural classification" of zoology, and that archeologists should make every 
effort to determine the "primary, secondary, and tertiary" characteristics 
that is, to classify artifacts according to features arranged in a sequence from 
"most important" to "least important." All or most of the other authors 
believed that subdivisions on their charts could be arranged in some order of 
descending importance, a point which Brew (see above) rightfully attacked as 
an illusion, both in biology and archeology. 

The classification of stone artifacts by Byers and Johnson (1940) broke away 
from this obsession for finding the "most" and "least" important characteristics 
of artifacts. They showed that some combinations of morphological and techno- 
logical features could be demonstrated to have more historical significance than 
others; thus each type could be built up in accordance with historical knowl- 
edge, independent of any over-all charting. 

In addition to groupings called "types," most publications also present 
separate descriptions of artifacts, particularly those of infrequent occurrence. 
Thus archeologists now proceed to classify and describe in at least four different 
ways : 

(1) With charts arranged in some "descending order of importance," each 
grouping designated with a code of letters and/or numbers. 

(2) With improvised groupings designed to facilitate description and illus- 
tration, regardless of what other authors may do, even in the same area. 

(3) With entities that are not dependent upon one another (as in charts) 
but which may be formed in a variety of ways and designated with 

Archeological Typology in Theory and Practice 145 

(4) With individual description, not grouped unless by some assumed 
function (functions may sometimes be determined through ethnographic 


The first published paper which, to my knowledge, may be said to have 
contributed to a definition of typological concepts was that of a Russian, 
Gorodzov, which appeared in the American Anthropologist in 1933. This was 
described by Kluckhohn (1939) as "a tentative and fumbling consideration of 
the implications of the typological method," but Kluckhohn himself did not 
attempt to explain what this method is, or should be, only emphasizing that 
" Meanwhile typologies are proliferated without apparent concern as to what 
the concepts involved are likely to mean when reduced to concrete human 

At the same time, Rouse (1939) published what was certainly the first 
concerted, systematic effort to make archeologists conscious of the inner 
problems of artifact typology. In addition to a careful, detailed definition 
of terms, Rouse explained how the descriptive properties ("attributes") 
of artifacts could be combined in a great variety of ways to formulate types of 
proved significance in the dimensions of time and space, as well as in their 
cultural context. He further discussed the highly significant point that " attri- 
butes" can be invented and borrowed apart from the typological wholes to 
which they belong, leading to new combinations of further significance. 

In 1944 the writer published "The Typological Concept," which summarized 
most of the works cited above and attempted to formulate a set of premises and 
procedures for the definition of types with demonstrable historical meaning. 
This study was aimed at laboratory practice as well as theory (the writer has a 
bias against theorists who are unable to demonstrate their recommendations 
with an actual run of material) . Five years later the practical aspects of laboratory 
procedure were discussed in more detail (Newell and Krieger, 1949: 71-74). 
A brief definition of early American projectile-point types, following the same 
procedures, had meanwhile been published (Krieger, 1947); and in 1954, 
Suhm, Krieger, and Jelks described some eighty types of pottery and seventy 
types of projectile points in their " Introductory Handbook of Texas Archeology." 

It must be emphasized that in all these applications of the methods advocated 
by the writer, no types have ever been regarded as final. They have all been formu- 
lated, rather, as reasonable entities with the hope and expectation that other 
archeologists would try to recognize them and follow their distributions as far 
as possible into surrounding areas so that eventually their ranges of variation 
could be more accurately defined. This process, which necessarily takes work, 
time, and patience, should also result in proving some types invalid and in 
revealing new ones as information increases. 

Several recent students of typological methods have stressed the artificial 
nature of all types, stating that they are inventions of the analyst, created for 
his convenience in analyzing cultural products, and that they are not "natural" 
or "inherent" in the material. Without being able to observe first-hand what 
patterns of manufacture were considered desirable in the culture being studied, 
it must be admitted that "types" are arbitrary. On the other hand, it may be 
assumed that in any culture one generation learned from its predecessor that 
things were done in certain ways in order to achieve certain acceptable patterns 

146 Men and Cultures 

of form and aesthetic quality. An attempt by the archeologist to devise types 
which may conform to "concrete human behaviors" is therefore far from hope- 
less, although it can never be achieved perfectly. Such a procedure has been 
very well stated in Phillips, Ford, and Griffin (1951 : 61-69) : 

44 Thus, we have in mind the concept of a continuously evolving regional 
pottery tradition, showing a more or less parallel development in and around 
a number of centers, each of which employs a number of distinct but related 
styles, each style in turn being in process of change both areally and temporally. 
With this remarkably unstable material, we set out to fashion a key to the 
prehistory of the region. Faced with this three-dimensional flow, which 
seldom if ever exhibits 'natural' segregation, and being obliged to reduce it 
to some sort of manageable form, we arbitrarily cut it into units. Such 
created units of the ceramic continuum are called pottery types . . ." 

". . . To a certain extent, the characters we select as criteria for type 
definition, however dictated by expediency, not to say necessity, are bound to 
correspond to characters that might have served to distinguish one sort of 
pottery from another in the minds of the people who made and used it. We 
should, of course, make every possible effort to increase this correspondence. 
In the course of time, with increased information . . . our types will be 
redefined in ever closer approximation to cultural * realities' . . . The limits 
of the variability of the types will then no longer be wholly arbitrary decisions 
of the classifier, as is now the case, but will bear some correspondence to 
ethnographic distributions in time and space." 

These authors follow this discussion with an explanation of " methods of 
sorting." One of them, Ford, has performed great labors in striving for precision 
in the counting and plotting of pottery-type frequencies in order to attain a 
sensitive scale for control over culture change. By use of bar-charts, Ford plots 
percentages for the pottery types from excavation levels, and he goes so far as 
to assert that such charts can be used to predict the chronological position of a 
new collection of unknown (or at least debatable) age (Phillips, Ford, and 
Griffin, 1951 : 219-234). While the degree of "fit " will probably serve to predict 
chronological position among nearby sites, I believe that Ford goes too far 
with it in predicting position for collections made as much as 200 miles apart. 
At any rate, he clearly outlines all his assumptions and the limitations of his 

In Ford (1952) the role of personal experience in defining types is freely 
admitted. Thus, years of work in a limited area will eventually reveal a great 
deal about how "attributes" tend to combine in time and space dimensions. 
While this paper contains many statements that are puzzling to me, there can 
be no question that Ford is fully aware of historical processes and that he has 
been able to demonstrate subtle changes in culture by use of pottery types. 
Pottery, however, is only one aspect of culture. 

Spaulding (19530) has recommended that artifact types be "discovered" by 
simple statistical methods such as the four-cell frequency combination of 
attributes, and probability equations. Doubtless it is high time that archeolo- 
gists employed such methods. My main point of criticism of this paper is that, 
with the methods Spaulding describes, a different set of "types" would result 
for each site or run of material treated. It appears that something else is needed, 
namely the element of personal experience with the manner in which attributes 
cluster in time and space perspective. Such prior knowledge may be utilized to 

Archeological Typology in Theory and Practice 147 

attain trial sortings into suspected types; and the formulae advocated by Spaulding 
are then not so much for the "discovery" of types as they are for the impersonal 
validation of results. 

Spaulding (1953i) has caustically criticized Ford's 1952 paper on "Measure- 
ments ..." He not only states that in Ford's paper he was unable to discover 
"what was measured with respect to what scale," but that this study reveals 
"serious methodological deficiences" and "fundamental misapprehensions 
of scientific method." Not only were Ford's pottery types not determined by any 
rigorous scientific methods, he says, but "no effective consideration" was given 
to negative data, adequacy of sample, or presence or absence of disturbance in 
the excavated deposits. 

Conversely, Ford (1954*z) comments on Spaulding's " Statistical Techniques " 
(19530) as "amazingly naive." He says that this method "will reveal the relative 
degree to which the people conformed to their set of ceramic styles at one time 
and place, but that is all it will do. . . . Such studies could be better made after 
the chronology is controlled." Ford continues: 

"Patterning is not the central problem of typology, rather it is the frame- 
work in which the problem of setting up measures of time-change and 
geographical space-change on each unit of the pattern have to be solved." 

Replying to this, Spaulding (1954) goes on: 

"I would argue that any reasonably consistent and well defined social 
behavior pattern is historically useful, i.e., meaningful in assessing similarities 
and differences between any two components . . . and if the techniques 
actually do what they are supposed to do they cannot fail to yield historically 
useful units. . . . 

"I should add that I do not favor setting any boundaries by legislation; 
I am quite willing to let Ford have his types if he will let me have mine. The 
important thing is to be explicit about what kind of type one is talking about" (Italics 

We need not decide who is correct in this controversy. Both have stimulated 
other archeologists into thinking more seriously about the implications of setting 
up types of any kind. If anyone is to be chastised, it is those many archeologists 
who do not know even yet that there is a typological problem. 

Ford (1954) states that the type is "the basic conceptual tool of cultural 
research" and tackles the problem of whether types exist or are "inherent" in 
cultural material. He concludes that all types are abstractions and as such may 
be made on many different levels of complexity : "What the classifier must do 
is to select a level which will serve the purposes in view." Here Ford defines four 
"dimensions" to the cultural type which need not be repeated here. However 
it is worth quoting the following: 

"In most archeological research, chance has determined the form of the 
typological structure to a great extent. . . . Permitting sampling chance to 
determine typology operates very well so long as the archeologist has only a 
spotty sampling of the culture history. Types are easily separable and they 
look natural. However, when the gaps are filled in so that the history may be 
viewed as a continuum through time and space, the naive typologist is 
certain to run into serious difficulties. . . . The artificiality of the groupings 
must be taken into consideration and type groupings consciously selected if 
working typology is to be developed." 

148 Men and Cultures 

Many of the arguments advanced by Ford for the " measurement" of culture 
change through seriation and graphing of pottery-type frequencies were also 
presented by Robinson (1951) and Brainerd (1951), although I am not aware 
of any exchange of ideas between these authors and Ford. Robinson, a socio- 
logical statistician, was not concerned with how the ceramic types had been 
formulated in the first place; he utilized material provided by Brainerd from 
Mayan archeology and demonstrated how agreement coefficients of first, second, 
and third order can be used to measure similarity of percentage distributions 
and thus to reconstruct chronological order in the material, even if such order 
was not apparent during excavation, 

Brainerd (1951) reviewed certain aspects of archeological typology and 
described a new method which he called "ordered matrices 5 ' or " contouring" 
for a sharper, more impersonal delineation of pottery types. His Figures 
95-99 illustrate "contoured matrices" for pottery from five Mayan sites. 
Space will not permit a review of this interesting approach ; I can only say here 
that the Robinson and Brainerd papers seem to combine some of the Fordian 
principles of utilizing pottery types for the "measurement" of culture change 
with the pleas of Spaulding that the types themselves must be formulated by 
impersonal, objective, and "scientific" methods. Brainerd apparently did not 
consider prior knowledge of comparative distribution of ceramic features 
necessary, or even useful, for his method, as he does not mention it. As in the 
case of Spaulding, I feel that these statistical applications will result in a different 
set of "types" for each site treated. 

The application of statistical methods to archeological material was antici- 
pated long before the above studies by Kroeber (1940). He demonstrated use of 
four-cell coefficients of similarity to express degrees of relationship between 
sites or complexes, utilizing trait lists already prepared by others. He did not 
discuss typology itself except to state that : 

"The first requisite seems to be a sound comparative typology. Once we 
have this, the rest will follow, whether with the help of statistical devices or 


Passing reference may be made to Woodbury's (1954) study of stone artifacts 
from northeastern Arizona. This splendid example of effective analysis and 
description of a very large archeological collection was written without recourse 
to the term "type" at all. While this may seem quite unremarkable to members 
of other professions, among archeologists it is phenomenal. Woodbury uses the 
terms "kinds," "groups," and "categories," employing functional designations 
when these are on safe ground by analogy with historic Puebloan Indian arti- 
facts of known function ("axes," "shaft smoothers," etc.). When functions are 
unknown, he uses purely descriptive names for groupings ("cupped stones," 
"cylindrical stones," etc.). Woodbury states that some of these groupings will 
probably meet the criteria of "types" advocated by the writer (Krieger, 1944), 
but that he prefers to wait until more is known about them before formally 
designating them as such. 

Daugherty (1956) is likewise cautious about using the term "type" and does 
so only when he feels that the groupings are on solid ground in regard to factors 
of comparative distribution in time, space, and context. Otherwise, he discusses 
the artifacts in terms of "forms" or "styles." 

Archeological Typology in Theory and Practice 149 


The act of classifying artifacts has been a preoccupation of archeologists for a 
long time. Classification, however, is not synonymous with the search for a 
typology directed toward definite ends and conducted according to definite 
assumptions, rules, and procedures. Until Rouse in 1939 began to formulate 
types with cultural and historical meaning, according to carefully defined 
principles, the study of typology cannot be said to have existed in American 
archeology. Since then, there has been a slowly but ever-increasing interest in 
the subject, but we are still a long way from attaining procedures which will be 
generally accepted and followed. 

Many archeologists remain to be convinced that this effort is necessary. 
Strangely, even now, typological studies are directed primarily against the 
smaller objects which can be sorted on tables, hardly at all toward other cultural 
phenomena such as dwellings, burials, mounds, pyramids, or settlement 
patterns. An important exception to the last-mentioned is Willey's great study 
(1953) on prehistoric settlement patterns in the Viru Valley of Peru. 

I have long urged that the word "type" in archeology should have approxi- 
mately the same value as "species" in biology. Not that their meanings would 
be identical, but in both cases the term should not be loosely used for any kind 
of grouping. Archeologists can use other terms such as "group," "trial group," 
"kind," "style," etc., reserving "type" for the end result of a long process of 
research in which the grouping has "demonstrable historical meaning" in 
relation to other such groupings, and approaches as closely as possible to a 
reconstruction of a "concrete behavior pattern" among the cultures being 

Municipal Museum, 
Riverside, Calif o rn ia . 


Black, Glenn A., and Paul Weer 

1936. A Proposed Terminology for Shape Classification of Artifacts. American 
Antiquity, 1 : 280-294. Menasha. 

Brainerd, George W. 

1951. The Place of Chronological Ordering in Archaeological Analysis. American 

Antiquity, 16 : 301-313. Salt Lake City. 
Brew, John Otis 

1946. The Archaeology of Alkali Ridge, Southeastern Utah. Papers of the Peabody 
Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Vol. 2, Harvard University. 
Byers, Douglas S., and Frederick Johnson 

1940. Two Sites on Martha's Vineyard. Papers of the R. S. Peabody Foundation for 

Archaeology, 1 : (1). Andover. 
Cole, Fay-Cooper, and Thorne Deuel 

1937. Rediscovering Illinois. Chicago, University of Chicago Press. 
Col ton, H. S., and L. L. Hargrave 

1937. Handbook of Northern Arizona Pottery Wares. Museum of Northern Arizona, 

Bull. 11. Flagstaff. 
Daugherty, Richard D. 

1956. Archaeology of the Lind Coulee Site, Washington. Proceedings of the American 

Philosophical Society, 100: (3). Philadelphia. 
Deuel, Thorne 

1927. Unpublished manuscript: "A Proposed Classification of Stone Projectile 
Points." Copy on file at University of Texas. 

150 Men and Cultures 

Finkelstein, J. J. 

1937. A Suggested Projectile-Point Classification. American Antiquity, 2 : 197-203. 

Ford, James A. 

1951. Greenhouse: A Troyville Coles Creek Period Site in Avoyelles Parish, 
Louisiana. Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History, 
44 :(1). New York. 

1952. Measurements of Some Prehistoric Design Developments in the Southeastern 
States. Ibid., 44 : (3). New York. 

1954a. Comment on A. C. Spaulding, "Statistical Techniques for the Discovery of 

Artifact Types/' American Antiquity, 19 : 390-391. Salt Lake City. 
1954b. The Type Concept Revisited. American Anthropologist, 56 : 42-54. Menasha. 
Fowke, Gerard 

1896. Stone Art. Bureau of American Ethnology, 13th Annual Report. Washington. 
Gorodzov, V. A, 

1933. The Typological Method in Archaeology. American Anthropologist, 35 : 95-103. 

Greenman, E. F. 

1929. A Form for Collection Inventories. Bulletin of the National Research Council, 

74 : 82-88. Washington. 
Hargrave, L. L. 

1932. Guide to Forty Pottery Types from the Hopi Country and the San Francisco 

Mountains, Arizona. Museum of Northern Arizona, Bull. 1. Flagstaff. 
Hawley, Florence M. 

1936, 1950. Field Manual of Prehistoric Southwestern Pottery Types. University 
of New Mexico Bull., Anthropological Series, \ : (4). Albuquerque. Revised, 
Kluckhohn, Clyde 

1939. The Place of Theory in Anthropological Studies. Philosophy of Science, 6 : 328- 

Krieger, Alex D. 

1944. The Typological Concept. American Antiquity, 9 : 271-288. Menasha. 

1947. Certain Projectile Points of the Early American Hunters. Bull, of the Texas 

Archeological and Paleontological Society, 18 : 7-27. Lubbock. 
Kroeber, A. L. 

1940. Statistical Classification. American Antiquity, 6 : 29-44. 
Nelson, N. C. 

1929. Unpublished manuscript: "Classification of Projectile Points." Copy on file 

at University of Texas. 
Newell, H. Perry, and Alex D. Krieger 

1949. The George C. Davis Site, Cherokee County, Texas. Memoirs of the Society for American 

Archaeology, No. 5. Menasha. 
Phillips, Philip, James A. Ford, and James B. Griffin 

1951. Archaeological Survey in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley, 1940-1947. 
Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, 25 : 61-69, 
219-234. Harvard University. Cambridge. 
Rau, Charles 

1876. The Archaeological Collection of the United States National Museum, in 
Charge of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Contri- 
butions to Knowledge, Vol. 22. Washington. 
Robinson, W. S. 

1951. A Method for Chronologically Ordering Archaeological Deposits. American 

Antiquity, 16 : 293-301. Salt Lake City. 
Rouse, Irving 

1939. Prehistory in Haiti, A Study in Method. Yale University Publications in Anthro- 
pology, No. 2 1 . New Haven. 

Archeological Typology in Theory and Practice 151 

Spaulding, Albert G. 

1953a. Statistical Techniques for the Discovery of Artifact Types. American Antiquity, 

18:305-313. Menasha. 

1953b. Review of Ford's "Measurements . . ." (see Ford, 1952). American Anthro- 
pologist, 55 : 588-591. Menasha. 

1954. Reply to Ford. American Antiquity, 19 : 391-393. Salt Lake City. 
Strong, W. D. 

1935. An Introduction to Nebraska Archeology. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, 

93: (10). Washington. 
Suhm, Dee Ann, Alex D. Krieger, and Edward B. Jelks 

1954. An Introductory Handbook of Texas Archeology. Bull, of the Texas Archeological 

Society, Vol. 25. Austin. 
Wiliey, Gordon R. 

1953. Prehistoric Settlement Patterns in the Virii Valley, Peru. Bureau of American 
Ethnology, Bui. 155. Washington. 

Wilson, Thomas 

1899. Arrowpoints, Spearheads, and Knives of Prehistoric Times. United States 

National Museum, Annual Report for 1897, Part 1, pp. 81 1-988. Washington. 
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1954. Prehistoric Stone Implements of Northeastern Arizona. Papers of the Peabody 
Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Vol. 34, Harvard University. 


Gertrude P. Kurath and Nadia Chilkovsky 


Gertrude P. Kurath 

The hot rhythms of jazz have set fire to most corners of the globe within 
fifty years. They have emerged from slave quarters and honky-tonks to respec- 
table society and to learned circles. Only the music, however, has engrossed 
historians and musicologists and has engendered a voluminous literature. The 
indispensable concommitant, the dance, has remained neglected as a field of 
serious study. It deserves investigation by sociologists as well as by specialists in 
African, Afro-American, and jazz dance over a wide area. Someone has to get 
started on its choreology, its scientific analysis, albeit a specialist in the field of 
Amerindian dance, a jazz practitioner for the fun of it. 

First of all, we need some kind of definition. Is jazz dance simply dancing to 
jazz music ? Is it ballroom, folk dancing, or a form of degenerate professionalism ? 
Without much ado one can answer that jazz dancing is always done to jazz, but 
not necessarily vice versa. Much of the pushing around to jazz bands on ball- 
room floors is not dancing at all. Some of it is based on Latin American styles, 
which are related but peripheral. Peripheral are also the dilutions taught in 
dancing schools, the vulgarizations in night clubs, and the creative elaborations 
of stage professionals. Jazz dancing is a twentieth century American product, 
with distinctive qualities and heritage to be identified presently, and with vast 
diffusion. It is primarily a dance of the people, hence a folk form, though it is 
often adapted to commercial purposes. 

Stylistic Nucleus. To define the stylistic qualities I have riotated the most 
important step patterns, have analyzed them and extracted essential charac- 
teristics. Most typical is the category known as jitterbugging, 1 which has many 
variants, antecedents, and developments, which, differs by location, social and 
age group, and predominant color of a gathering, Negro or White. The funda- 
mental, recurrent qualities can be identified as follows : 

1 . Rhythmic, often syncopated knee flexion. 

2. Basic two-step pattern, in various tempi and directions. 

3. Weight on heel or full foot. 

4. Frequent foot twists. 

5. Hip swaying and torsion, motivated by foot action. 

6. Frequent sway back (Negro), forward torso tilt, or hunching (white). 

7. Opposition between leg and shoulder-arm movements. 

8. Syncopated hand clapping, finger snapping, or thigh swatting. 

9. Aliveness of the entire body, with awareness of each part. 

10. Relaxation to the rhythmic impulse. 

1 1 . Alternation of subtle and violent acrobatic movements. 

12. Absence of set spatial or temporal form, with improvisation. 

13. Frequent counterpoint with musical rhythms. 

Jitterbugging is a couple dance, though not in the embrace position. The 
boy may hold one of the girl's hands to pull, push, and twirl her about. 

Jazz Choreology 153 

After releasing hold, they can continue with the basic pattern of two-step and 
balancing, or they can string together any of the jazz steps in their repertoire. 

With this brief stylistic definition as starting point, it will be easier to trace 
developments, to identify ethnic components, and to suggest ways of comparative 

Development. 2 I have mentioned the two-step (or change-step) as the founda- 
tion of jitterbugging. The ballroom two-step of 1890-1910 was a dull step-close- 
step with rigid body. The one-step or turkey trot of the Irene and Vernon Castle 
team was little more than a smooth walk. 3 In the era of ragtime music the 
younger set began "ragging the two-step" with knee flexions and syncopations, 
and devised the foxtrot with its broken rhythm (see 111. I). 4 Ballroom dances 
were performed in an embrace which was intensified into the dead clinch of 
the Californian Grizzly Bear. 

The embrace and other restraints were shaken off after the first World War, 
in an epidemic of angular, foot-twisting gyrations the Charleston, Snake 
Hips, Susie-Q, and Truckin'. The Charleston, after seething in the Southland 
as a Negro round dance, was discovered in 1923 among Negro dock workers of 
Charleston, S.C., and by 1926 had infected higher society. 5 The Susie-Qand 
Truckin' are said to have developed in New York's Negro quarter, Harlem, 6 
when jazz musicians had spread from the Mississippi River and Chicago to the 
East. The "boll wevil" in Truckin' is a particularly entertaining and absurd 
step, a glide from heel to flat foot with a twist, a rear-protruding posture, and 
wicked shaking index finger. From these seeds sprang the Lindy Hop, named 
after Colonel Lindbergh's long hop across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927. 7 

In the middle thirties one of the Lindy steps, the kick, became the basis of 
the Big Apple. It has been rumored that the Big Apple originated with the 
Gullah Negroes of Georgia. 8 It seems a fact that Arthur Murray discovered it in 
a barn in Columbia, S.C. and popularized it, particularly in collegiate circles, 
by means of his national dance school. He considered it important, as the 
nearest approach in years to an original and native American dance. 9 It 
certainly is the only jazz dance which unites an entire assembly in one circle 
dance, with figures borrowed at times from square dancing, and which also 
incorporates solo or couple improvisations similar to the instrumental solos 
in jazz orchestras. The group figures had names like Peelin' the Apple, Kickin' 
the Mule, Organ Grinder, Praise Allah, Swing High Swing Low; and used all 
of the popular jazz steps. The soloists in the center could give free rein to their 
imaginations. It roused wild enthusiasm among participants, including myself; 
yet it has become extinct. Perhaps it became too eclectic. 

Jitterbugging has, however, survived three decades, with constant modifica- 
tions. After the Lindy period it was standardized into the Swing Break; during 
the Boogie- Woogie musical period it was known as Boogie, and it accumulated 
substeps, the Mooch, the dragging Sand, the Camel Walk, and the strutting 
Duck Walk, which recalls the Rumba in its hip action. 10 After the forties it 
took the name of Bop, no matter what music was used. 11 The Jersey Bounce, 
Detroit Jump, Huckabuck, and others came and went. Now it's the Chicken, 
miming rooster and hen, and Drivin' Home, with its suggestions of starting and 
steering a car. 12 Today the sequences are freer and more improvisatory than 
in the forties, while the style is more sedate. 

All of these variations exhibit the same fundamental qualities. These we will 
now try to identify racially and historically. 

Antecedents and Ethnic Components. As in the study of jazz music, we can ask, 

154 Men and Cultures 

"To what extent is jazz dancing a Negro legacy from the importation of Negro 
slaves to the American South in the eighteenth century ?" An answer requires 
examination of African and Afro-American as well as white and jazz dance 
styles, to support the traditions of Negro provenience for many of the steps. 

Africa displays innumerable dance styles. 13 But certain qualities seem to 
predominate in the western slave coasts, among the Yoruba for instance. These 
are whole-bodied movements, flat feet, flexible knees, sway back or forward tilt, 
dynamics from pussyfooting to violent acrobatics, rhythmic complexity, 
improvisation, an unconcern for set structure or ground plan save a counter- 
clockwise circle. 14 These resemble the characteristics of jazz dance. Two 
striking, culturally determined differences are Africa's virtual neglect of couple 
dancing, and its emphasis on religious function as opposed to the secular purpose 
of jazz. 

Analogous characteristics, plus a religious motivation, survive in Haitian 
dancing 15 and other Negro-derived dances of the Americas. Oderigo's equation 
of the Carolina "shout" and the Brazilian "candomble'" also suggests jazz 
analogies. 16 As shown by Dr. Lorenzo Turner, the female devotees in the can- 
domble' for the water deity Oshun shuffle with small two-stepping foot twists 
in a counterclockwise circle, while their leader gyrates herself into a frenzy. 
The Holy Dance or Shout of the Gullah and other southern Negroes proceeds 
in a heel-shuffle with flexing knees. In 1867 the "sperichil" was sung to a 
jerking shuffle, with hand clapping called "patting the juba." 17 Today this 
can also be observed in northern cities, Chicago, Detroit. In Ann Arbor I have 
witnessed at services of the Holiness church such syncopated knee flexions and 
hand clappings, two-steps with foot twists and low kicks, and spasmodic 
jerking. 18 

Recreational dances of plantation Negroes commenced with a prayer arid 
worked up to considerable enthusiasm, even ecstasy. The slaves ragged and 
syncopated their clog dances, frenzied stamps with hand clapping, and less 
frenzied, prancing cake walks. 19 Around 1876 dances on the Cincinnati levees 
opened with a quadrille, borrowed from Europe, perhaps Spain. They cul- 
minated in a roar of song, stamping, patting juba, and acrobatics. 20 In new 
Orleans the Calinda was a contradanza in two rows (originally a stick dance) . 
The women writhed with dragging steps, and the men leaped like savages. 21 
This, the Bamboula, and other dances derived from the Spanish-influenced 
West Indies, especially after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. 22 There was 
always a stylistic difference between men and women observations confirmed 
by paintings of the period. 23 

These historical descriptions can readily be visualized by any observer of 
the Lindy in Harlem's Savoy Ballroom, when band and dancers warm up after 

The White masters were fascinated by the slaves' antics. 24 In Cincinnati some 
Whites took part, appearing clumsy next to the lithe Negroes. Whites started 
the vogue of minstrel shows. In recreation they clung to European-derived 
dances, French quadrilles, English country dances with set figures and erect, 
proper posture, precise Scotch reels and flings, Austrian couple waltzes, and, later 
on, the two-steps. Quadroon balls in New Orleans imprinted a Negro flavor 
on the international assortment of quadrilles, polkas, waltzes, and Latin- 
American songs. 25 At times high society accepted one of the exotic dances and 
promptly dehydrated it. But one may suppose that the dockhands and their 
girls on Mississippi River boats performed turkey trot and tango with zest. 20 

Jazz Choreology 155 

After decades of disdain, educated Whites of the late twenties yielded to the 
captivation of jazz rhythms. 

When they did so, they contributed their own mannerisms, exaggerating the 
Charleston and putting it on high heels, hunching shoulders in the Truckin*. 
White professionals have often created a pleasing style of their own within the 
medium of jazz, notably Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, more freely also 
"modern creative" dancers. 27 But the most exciting jazz dancing must still be 
sought in the streets and ballrooms and homes of the Negro population. 

Though the obvious White contributions are limited to couple patterns, to 
figures of the Big Apple, and to secularization, yet jazz dance can be considered 
a racial hybrid, with the two-step rhythm as common denominator. The forms 
stem from the clash and fusion of races and cultures. Though jazz dance proper 
does not celebrate the economic and religious pursuits of life, it has its roots in 
such functional activities. Its analysis may hence prove useful in the study of 
seething racial problems. 

Analysis through Symbols. The present modest paper cannot touch the wider 
ethnological or psychological implications. 28 Limited to the formal aspects, it 
will proceed to provide a firm foundation and to show a few tricks of the trade 
in dealing with forms. As in musicology these tricks consist in notation on paper 
by symbols, in juxtaposition of similar forms in a sort of tabulation, and in 
interpretation . A number of dance notation systems are available, including a con- 
venient one of my own. In this article it is best to use Labanotation, which is widely 
known in many countries. Its symbols, here somewhat simplified, can reveal 
essential characteristics shared by African, Afro- American, and jazz dances. 

The illustration aligns a few typical steps from personal observation. Always 
read from bottom to top and from left to right of the page, they represent the 
following steps : 

(a) Two-step (ragged) (f) Chicken 

(b) Foxtrot ' (g) Truckin' 

(c) Duck Walk (h) Step in a Holiness Negro service 

(d) Double Lindy (i) Step in the Brazilian candomble 

(e) Lindy kick 

They represent the girl's part, usually only the right foot sequence, to be reversed 
on the other foot. Bilateral sequences are shown in (d), (f), (g), and (i). 

The selected symbols show the salient characteristics noted as common 
denominator, as follows: 

1. Rhythmic, often syncopated knee flexions (flexion shown by black 
symbols), in all examples. 

2. Prevalent two-step, in various arrangements of short-short long and various 
tempi (relative length of symbols, fortified by musical notes written at the 
right of the column), in all except (g). , 

3. Shift from heel to flat foot (hooks on symbols), in (g) and (i). 

4. Foot twists (oblique rectangle), in (g), (h), and (i). 

5. Sympathetic hip movement (dotted line), shown for (g), also evident in 

(c) and others, though not shown. 

6. Sway back (key signature at bottom of page), in (c). 

7. Opposition of raised leg and shoulder (reversed symbols, shoulder and 
arm written outside three lines of staff), in (f). 

8. Alternate extension and flexion (bent horizontal line and X), in (d). 

9. Syncopated finger snap (here written by musical notes on right), in (c). 


Men and Cultures 


Fig. 1 . Shared Features in Typical Dances 

The Afro-American steps are so placed as to show the similarity between 
Lindy kick (e) and Holiness step (h), Truckin' (g) and candomble' (i). Other 
similarities and features will be apparent to a reader of Labanotation, or a 
student who consults one of the publications on the system, listed below. It is 
hoped that the general features will be apparent to all readers. 

The musical accompaniment is not included with the tabulation; but some 
typical tunes and accompaniments are written to the extreme left. Suitable 
musical sources are appended to the bibliography. 

Thus the illustration reinforces the remarks put forth in the written words of 
this article. The argument would be even more forceful when extended to a 

Jazz Choreology 


large number of dances and to the study of motion pictures, photographs, and 
descriptions, insofar as these are clear enough. 

Ann Arbor, Michigan. 


Nadia Chilkovsky 

The ethnologist will easily recognize the value of recording not only the music 
and a word description of folk and ethnic dances but the movements themselves, 
if he wishes to study the influence of the movement behavior of the transplanted 
African Negro upon the music and dance of America, and, indeed, upon that 
of the entire contemporary world. 

Almost 500 years of trial and error preceded the system of movement notation 
known in this country as Labanotation and abroad as Kinetographie Laban. 
Rudolf Laban devised an alphabet of movement notation in which there is a 




- MJ -* 



Fig. 2. Distinctive Features in Typical Dances 

158 Men and Cultures 

separate symbol for each motion within the framework of a tightly knit, 
logical, simple set of visual signs. 29 He discarded all previous efforts which either 
used letters as symbols for ideas of movement or which used symbols or words to 
represent combinations of movements, and set about the task of devising a 
movement alphabet which could record accurately the flow of time, effort and 
spatial path of all movement regardless of style. It can adapt itself to new ideas 
and needs for expression. The terminology can identify specific styles of dance as 
practiced by people of a variety of nationalities and languages, or codes of 
gesture language used by adjacent people with different languages. 

Labanotation is read from the bottom of the page up, on a vertical staff of 
three main lines of which the center line represents the body's division of left 
and right. 30 On the center staff are marked off units of time which, in turn, arc 
marked off by horizontal bar lines to represent meter. There is a separate 
location for each joint and body area, aided by a set of pre-signs. Eight basic 
direction symbols, all of them direct variations of a simple rectangle, are placed 
upon this staff. Each symbol indicates the duration of movement (by its length), 
the direction of movement (by its shape), the level of movement (by its shading), 
and the part of the body (by its location on the staff). These symbols are capable 
of infinite combinations. 

The choice of illustrations has here been limited to a few of the steps known 
to one observer. The study can readily be extended not only to her full reper- 
toire, but also to variants and to unique forms in many locations. For thousands 
of dance-literate students are now able to set down their observations and to 
make use of published texts. With a proved movement notation, students of 
culture comparisons can thus have source materials from many areas, as far 
apart as Nigeria, Brazil, and New York City. They can combine these with 
their own data towards the solution of ethnological problems. 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 


1. Murray, 1946, p. 33. 

2. See development traced in Kurath, 1949. 

3. Shawn, 1956, pp. 8, 34. 

4. Davis, 1923, p. 44; Murray, 1946, p. 32; Shomer, 1943, p. 26. 

5. Avakian, 1956; Johnson, 1935, pp. 16-17. 

6. Shomer, 1943, pp. 15-18,21-23. 

7. Avakian, 1956; Murray, 1946, p. 33. 

8. Green, 1951, p. 444. 

9. Murray, 1938, p. 183. 

10. Dorothy Arnette and Shirley Wright, Negro informants in 1948. 

11. Ruby Hunter and Horace Soward, Negro informants of 1956. 

12. Ruby Hunter. Photos in Detroit News, Pictorial Magazine, June 3, 1956. 

13. Murray, 1952, pp. 44-45. 

14. Gorer, 1944, pp. 20-21. 

15. Courlander, 1944, p. 37. 

16. Oderigo, 1956, p. 317. 

17. Chase, 1955, p. 256. 

18. Kurath, 1951, p. 179. 

19. Chase, 1955, pp. 83, 439-440. 

20. Chase, 1955, pp. 436-437, quoting Lafcadio Hearn. 

21. Chase, 1955, pp. 77, 312; Harris 1952, p. 49. 

22. Harris, 1952, p. 48. 

Jazz Choreology 159 

23. Photographic reproductions: for instance, in Caribbean Quarterly 3:1, Frontispiece 
(E. Bridgens' "Negro Dances"); and in Abby Aldrich Rockfeller Folk Art Collection, 
Williamsburg, Va., Cat. 301.29 (The Old Plantation) from plantation between Orange- 
burg and Charleston, S.C. 

24. Chase, 1955, pp. 77-78. 

25. Chase, 1955, p. 304; Terral, 1954, p. 9. 

26. Harris, 1952, pp. 88-89. 

27. A Labanotation record, Better Dancing with Fred Astaire, is in preparation, M. 
Witmark, New York. 

28. Kurath, 1956, states various applications of choreology. 

29. Hutchinson, 1954. 

30. Chilkovsky, 1955, 1956. 


Avakian, George 

1956. Notes for Cakewalk to Lindy Hop, Columbia Record Corporation, CL782. 
Chase, Gilbert 

1955. America's Music, New York, McGraw-Hill Book Co. 
Chilkovsky, Nadia 

1955-1956. Three R'sfor Dancing, Books I-IV, New York, M. Witmark. 
Courlander, Harold 

1944. "Dance and Dance Drama in Haiti," The Function of the Dance in Human 

Society, New York, Boas Studio, pp. 35-45. 
Davis, Helene 

1923. Guide to Dancing, Chicago, Regan. 
Gorer, Geoffrey 

1944. "The Function of Dance in Primitive African Communities," The Function of 

the Dance in Human Society, New York, Boas Studio, pp. 19-34. 
Green, Abel, and Joe Laurie 

1951. Show Biz, New York, Henry Holt & Co. 
Harris, Rex 

1952. Jazz, Harmondsworth, Penguin Books. 
Hutchinson, Ann 

1954. iMbanotation, Xcw York, New Directions. 
Johnson Smith Co. 

1935. (no author) The Art of Dancing, Detroit. 
Kurath, Gertrude 

1949. " Jazz," Dictionary of Folklore, New York, Funk and Wagnalls, Vol. I, 545-546. 

1951. "Syncopated Therapy," Midwest Folklore, 1 : (3) 179-186. 

1956. "Choreology and Anthropology," American Anthropologist, 58: (1) 177-179. 
Murray, Arthur 

1938. How to Become a Good Dancer, New York, Simon and Schuster. 
1946. Dance Instructor, New York, Robbins. 
Murray, K. C. 

1952. "Music and Dancing in Nigeria," African Music Society News Letter 1 J (5) 

Ortiz Oderigo, Nestor R. 

1956. "Notas dc Etnografia Afro-Brasilena : El Candombld," Ciencias Sociales, Pan- 
American Union, 6 : (36) 310-319. 
Shawn, Ted 

1956. 16 Dances in 16 Rhythms, New York, M. Witmark. 
Shomer, Louis 

1943. Swing Steps, New York, Padell. 
Terral, Rufus 

1954. "Lo Llaman Jazz," Americas, Pan-American Union, 6: (9) 9-12, 30-31. 

160 Men and Cultures 

Records and Music 
Field recordings) inter alia 

Kurath, Gertrude 

1951. Services of the Holiness Church in Ann Arbor. Kurath. 
Turner, Lorenzo 

n.d. Brazilian and African Dances from field trips. 

Commercial recordings 

Ethnic Folkways 

1899. New York, Jazz 6 (FP 65), I, 7, Maple Leaf Rag. (Publ. Ragtime Folio, Blues 
Stomps and Ragtime, Melrose, n.d., 1-3; cop. Scott Joplin 1899, Melrose.) 
Suited to Two-step. 

Other good selections in this jazz series: 

Columbia Record Corp., New York 

n.d. Cakewalk to Lindy Hop (CL782), (Wally Rose), Charleston I, 6, Trucking II, 5, 

That Lindy Hop II, 6. 
1946. The Great Benny Goodman (CL820), I, 2, Stompin' at the Savoy. (Publ. in Murray 

1946, 36-38, cop. 1936 Robbins). Suited to Jitterbug. 
Jazztone Society, New York 

n.d. Jelly Roll Morton (J-1211), King Porter Stomp, II, 5 and others. Suited to 

Two-step and Foxtrot, 
n.d. Rex Stewart (J-1202), Basin Street Blues, I, 2 (Publ. The Dixieland, I, Melrose, 

2-3, cop. 1929). Suited to Foxtrot or Duck Walk, 
n.d. Sam Price (J-1207), Jumpirf on 57th, I, 1 . Suited to Lindy or Big Apple. 



David Landy 

Increasingly during the past two decades anthropologists have been interested 
in projective techniques as devices for deriving "implicit culture patterns" or 
"modal personality structures" of various societies (Henry and Spiro 1953; 
Mensh and Henry 1953). Concurrently controversies have raged as to the 
validity, reliability, objectivity and practical utility of these instruments (cf. 
Henry 1954 and comments by Nadel, Caudill, Honigmann, Spiro, Fiske, 
Spindler and Hallowell). 

In cross-cultural studies of socialization many techniques have been tried, 
usually with implicit assumptions that (1) they are more feasible and productive 
for studying child behavior than child interviewing or observation alone, and 
(2) this may be one of the few ways, aside from the difficult task of collecting 
accurate dream material, that the ethnologist may probe the unspoken premises 
underlying child behavior. The purpose of this paper is to present some practical 
and methodological problems of the application of free projective doll play to 
rural Puerto Rican children (Landy 1956) and to consider several questions 
relating to the validity and practicality of this mode of data-collection in parti- 
cular and projective methods as field instruments in general. 

So far as this writer knows, this is the first application of this specific 
technique in a culture outside the continental United States. In fact, the 
only other use of doll play as a projective technique in any other culture is 
that by Henry and Henry (1953), using dolls with detachable parts with Pilaga 
Indian children. The present technique was developed by Sears and Whiting 
and their associates at Iowa State University and Harvard. It was intended not 
so much for eliciting modal personality patterns as for specific kinds of child 
behaviors, particularly aggression and dependency. These were considered as 
consequents of antecedent home training conditions, which were obtained 
through interviews and observation. I hoped to use the technique for this 
purpose, but felt that it might be broadened to yield other behaviors which 
could not be reached by direct observation or interviewing and yield com- 
parable data for cross-cultural testing of hypotheses. 


Four sessions of free doll play were administered to one child from each of 
1 8 sample families systematically selected as representative of the predominant 
lower-class cane workers of the village of Valle Cana. The group comprised ten 
boys and eight girls between four and seven years of age. 

The materials were constructed after we felt sufficiently familiar with the 
conditions of village life. They consisted of a roofless "house" formed of parti- 
tions three inches high, furnishings and an outhouse, to represent a "typical" 


162 Men and Cultures 

Vallecanese lower-class dwelling. The doll family consisted of a father, mother, 
boy, girl, and baby, with medium darkish skin coloring and features. The dolls 
were constructed of pipe-cleaners, cotton and cloth, and could easily be mani- 
pulated into almost any position by the child. 

While the stimulus materials were standardized cross-culturally as to content, 
our attempt to make the form appear similar to life-conditions of the village 
detracts somewhat from the comparability of the technique. In the United 
States very elaborate "store-bought" equipment was set up to approximate a 
* 'typical" middle-class situation. Unlike ink-blots or nonsense words, whenever 
the stimulus has any form at all the anthropologist must decide whether to swap 
the advantage of keeping the form constant, or adapting it to the local situation. 
Thus, in the case of the Thematic Apperception Test, many variations have been 
used in exotic cultures. The same weakening of standardization must be realized. 

The "act" was the unit of measurement, and was considered as any completed 
action, verbal or physical. Agents and objects of acts were scored. Categories 
of acts were: aggression, dependency, identification, nurturance, and nonin- 
teraction (an agent acting with no object in view). Content of acts was analyzed 
into toileting, cleanliness, sleeping, sex, and eating-feeding. 

Each child was brought alone into the doll play situation. Present were the 
Puerto Rican field assistant, Miss Doris Diaz, previously trained in the technique 
by the anthropologist, who maintained the play of the child, and myself as 
scorer. I sat in a corner, presumably "working" and paying no attention to the 
proceedings, but actually simultaneously recording and scoring each act, plus 
notes on the child's general behavior. (In the laboratory situation in the States, 
only the experimenter is present, and the scorer operates from behind a one- 
way mirror. However, Pintler [1945] has tried the dual role of experimenter 
and scorer with reported success while attempting to assess the influence of 
experimenter-child interaction and the organization or lack of organization of 
the materials.) The fact that the scorer records and scores simultaneously has 
the advantage that scoring need not be deduced later from recorded data. 
But it has the disadvantage that only one scorer could be present and thus inter- 
judge reliability could not be tested. However, the ethnologist felt some comfort 
in the fact that in the United States it was feasible to use more than one scorer, 
and reliably high inter-judge correlations were obtained. 

After a few months we began to administer the doll play, having first dis- 
covered in pretests that these children were often shy, negativistic, and reluctant 
to play in our presence. These first sessions proved somewhat premature and 
unrewarding, and doll play was temporarily abandoned. Finally, in the last 
two months of the field stay, we resumed with somewhat greater success, though 
four children cooperated to such a small extent that they were classed as non- 
participators and given extra intensive observation. 


A question which arises in the use of most protective techniques is, "To what 
degree is the technique eliciting protective responses and to what extent are the 
responses reflective of the real life situation?" This involves the basic rationale 
underlying projective methods, and upon it hinges the validity and usefulness 
of the instrument. According to Bell (1948), 

Projective techniques derive their title from the term projection, which has 
a variety of meanings, some of which seem applicable as a partial description 

Methodological Problems of Free Doll Play as Ethnographic Field Technique 163 

of the processes involved in these techniques, and some of which are unsuitable. 
As yet, no clear and common definition of what is meant by "projective" 
has appeared among those who use these methods, although there is recog- 
nition of what is implied in the use of the term. 

There will probably be consensus around the general notion that the subject 
will attribute to the material impulses and feelings which have been pushed 
down into his own unconscious. The idea, then, is that such a technique elicits 
socially repressed needs which cannot realistically be vented, but are expressed 
as fantasy: an ink-blot is a vulture carrying off its prey; a younger man "pleads 
for understanding" with an older man in a "neutral" TAT picture; the 
mother doll cooks dinner for the family or is stuffed into the trunk by the girl doll. 

The difficulty is to determine how much of the derived data is projective and 
how much reflective, since obviously a different assessment must be placed upon 
each kind. As one researcher (Maccoby 1953) says, 

Evidently everything depends upon how far out on. the reality-irreality 
continuum doll play is. If it is quite dissimilar to real life, then the inhibiting 
effects of punishment and restriction at home [for example] should be minimal, 
and the pressure of the need for fantasy should mean that the restricted and 
punished children will have a high rate of activity in doll play. If doll play is 
quite similar to the home situation, on the other hand, the punished and 
restricted children should show a low rate of activity in doll play, and should 
be stereotyped in their responses. 

But for these Vallecafiese children I am not sure that these assumptions 
always stand. Much of their doll play was of the very routine, very repetitive 
variety, and seemed to reflect the child's mundane existence. Perhaps the very 
fact that he took adult roles at all behavior seldom encouraged by Valle- 
canese elders indicated play at a fantasy level. This uncertainty, however, as 
to what extent the child's play is projection places a definite limitation on how 
much we can test hypotheses with it, or in fact find it useful at all. Thus, while a 
large proportion of the doll play seemed obviously replicative of routine home 
life, I could not be certain whether the remainder was actually projected or 
reflections of everyday life that I could not apprehend through observation. 

For instance, the hypothesis that high punishment of children's aggression 
at home will tend to produce low overt aggression in real interpersonal situa- 
tions, but high aggression in a permissive fantasy milieu like free doll play, 
assumes that the child will project his repressed wishes. A partial validity check 
here would be that if a punitive mother reports, and the ethnologist observes, 
low actual aggression, the child is probably fantasy ing when he produces high 
aggression in doll play. But suppose the opposite result obtains: we find low 
fantasy aggression associated with low overt aggression? This may throw doubt 
upon the projective capacity of the instrument or upon the reasonability of the 
hypothesis, or both. Which alternative does the investigator accept? In this 
instance further research indicated the possibility of a third variable, the superego 
development of the child. But the problem of just what it is that the child was 
exhibiting in doll play remains. 

Furthermore, the question of how far out on the reality-irreality continuum 
doll play happens to be can probably not be answered in an absolute sense. 
It very likely is different for each child, depending upon his social experience 
and perceptive set. The path to the solution of this problem will undoubtedly 
prove a thorny one. Without some kind of answer, the displacement theory of 

164 Men and Cultures 

projection is left dangling. And in a broad sense the displacement theory is 
the theory of projection, so that from this point of view all current projective 
techniques may be suspect. 


Another basic assumption of doll play, and of most projective techniques, is 
that the atmosphere surrounding the administration of the instrument must be 
completely permissive, so that the inhibitions which cause repression in real 
life will not be present to block free expression of needs in doll play. We did our 
utmost to insure permission. But certain facts of Vallecanese socialization make 
us feel that permissiveness alone was not enough: 

(1) The child was never encouraged to act freely in the presence of adults 
and certainly riot to interact with them on a basis of equality. So the child 
usually did not feel completely free in their presence. Perhaps he was con- 
sciously living up to the adult image of him as largely sin capacidad (with little 
ability to think or function autonomously). 

(2) The child was not accustomed to completely permissive adults, who spoke 
to him without condescension and with an attempt at equality, who sat on the 
floor with him to play with a doll house and dolls (of all things!) in any way he 
saw fit. 

(3) The child's response to being placed in such a situation was often nega- 
tivism, a form of acting out hostility against such nonpunishing adults. This 
also accords with our finding that, given inconsistency of parental demands and 
punishment, the child tends to get away with as much as he can. Sensing that 
we deeply desired him to act, the child found himself in the unusual but pleasur- 
able position of having adults wanting something of him instead of vice-versa, 
and being able to refuse their desires with impunity. 

(4) The picture of two adults compromising themselves in such a manner 
must have been more fantastic than the doll play equipment itself. Our super- 
ordinate class status also must have introduced an indeterminable element of 
inhibition, despite our attempts to be utterly permissive. 


It is not possible directly to gauge the effects of the physical situation. For 
mountain children we used a cabin belonging to an old widow who was welt 
known and respected, and this was probably advantageous. But because many 
children and adults would join us and try to look in through the windows and 
doors, we had to close them. In a community where this is never done in day- 
time this led to some suspicion as to what was going on in the cabin, even though 
we told everyone what we were doing. And a certain amount of fear must have 
entered the minds of the children inside, despite our attempts to be nonchalant 
and nonthreatening. 

For the road children we used a room in my house. Here again certain 
factors must be taken into account. Seldom or never is a lower-class child 
invited into a middle- or upper-class home except when older, perhaps, as a 
servant. Suddenly to be made a guest in such a home must have created certain 
doubts and misgivings on the part of parents as well as children. Also it was not 
always opportune to remove my own child from the house, and sounds of her 
playing were often distracting. 

Methodological Problems of Free Doll Play as Ethnographic Field Technique 165 

We always informed a mother and child at least a day in advance of calling 
to take him to doll play. But as with her own interviews, a mother often forgot 
appointments por la mafiana. So we frequently walked long distances to find the 
child was not ready and the mother would insist on washing him and changing 
his clothes, using much of our planned time. Sometimes the child balked at 
going, and his mother would request that we call back another day. 


While two sessions seemed sufficient for obtaining productive play in conti- 
nental youngsters, we often found that Vallecanese children were slow starters. 
So we extended the play to four sessions, assuming the first, and at times the 
second, as "warming up" periods. Thus we were comparing, in our cross- 
cultural analyses, four Puerto Rican sessions with two continental sessions, but 
since we used mean percentages, this does not seem unreasonable. 

In an attempt to "warm up" the nonparticipators we tried some group 
play with the equipment, including some children who were good producers. 
This influenced some slow starters to produce more richly in their solitary 
sessions, but did not alter the performance of the original nonparticipators. 
However it should be noted that they did participate to some extent in group play. 
Also, especially at the mountain cabin where some space was available, we 
would lead group games, to relax the children before their solitary sessions. 


At first not only were most children reticent, but parents were not enthusiastic 
about letting them come. Vallecanese parents preferred their children close to 
home, and going off with adults, especially an Americano who strangely wanted 
them to play with dolls, was not a happy thought. Finally one mother with 
whom we had excellent rapport agreed to permit her child to go and we were 
confronted with the "bandwagon phenomenon." 

Nearly every mother in the sample then insisted that her child be included, 
as well as those of other mothers whom we did not know as intimately. The latter 
would beseech us to take their children and hint that it would be a personal 
affront if they were excluded. (This also stimulated many of them into asking 
why they had not been interviewed, and they requested this, too.) Consequently 
we often had to take a child's friends and neighbors along, even though we 
permitted the non-sample children only briefly to examine the equipment. 

In at least one case of a nonparticipator, we found after doll play was over 
that her mother, who was exceptionally punitive, forced her child to go, and 
this could have contributed to her extreme reticence in doll pl^y. The "final 
effects of the bandwagon phenomenon cannot be traced but they have been 
considerable. More than one mother may have forced her child to attend, un- 
known to us. 


Presumably the child should be, and perhaps can only be, motivated in 
terms of his personal needs and cultural values. The prospect of playing with 
dolls and miniature furniture was not in itself enough to motivate these children, 
as a whole, to play freely. Like their elders, Vallecanese children were this- 
worldly oriented. So we tried candy and toys as motivators. This did raise their 

166 Men and Cultures 

motivational level, but these young materialists came to want their pay in 
advance. There were even occasions when the shrewder children would accept 
a reward, play part of a session, then grin and say they would continue for 
another lollypop or rubber ball. 

The effects of using such motivators are hardly measurable. Our feeling is 
that since getting paid for services is the general rule, except for class duties (for 
which they did not feel quite as obligated to us as to local middle- and upper- 
class members), perhaps this use of material rewards was not necessarily a 
contaminating factor. It is by no means unusual for American ethnologists, at 
least, to pay informants. 

Another point in connection with motivation is the role of doll playing in the 
culture. So far as we could tell, doll playing was a normally accepted practice. 
However, few children in the impoverished lower class owned dolls, and on the 
rare occasion when one was bought, the mother often placed it out of reach, to 
be used only when the mother could protect it from harm. Furthermore, a 
good deal of stress is placed on manliness in boys, and on only one occasion 
outside of our own sessions did I see a boy playing with his sister's doll. There- 
fore, it may not be mere coincidence that three of our four nonparticipators 
were boys, though there are many other factors in Vallecanese socialization 
that could account for this (Landy 1956). 

I have also wondered about the effects of trying to replicate the child's 
home situation. There was good evidence to indicate that the domestic 
environment, not only from my own cultural point of view but from that of the 
child himself was often perceived as drab and dull. Furthermore, as I have noted 
elsewhere (ibid.), much stress was laid upon the newness of a thing, however 
little intrinsic value it has. The questions then raised for the investigator are: 

(1) Did making doll equipment so much like real life defeat the requisite that a 
projective technique be dissimilar from reality in order to stimulate free fantasy? 

(2) Did the child feel depressed and inhibited by this microcosmic replica of 
his home? (3) If I had bought manufactured dolls and houses, however unlike 
the actual situation, would the child have been motivated to respond more 
freely and richly? (4) If we had ordered the children to play in the authoritarian 
manner in which adults usually address children in the culture, would they 
have responded more naturally and freely? 

Space remains for one final question : Would I still use doll play in another 
field situation? While I by no means consider the data obtained without use- 
fulness, I would not. It was seen that doll play was a much more time-consuming 
and arduous undertaking in the field than in the well-lighted sound-proof 
laboratory with one-way mirrors and tape-recorders in New England. In a 
subsequent study among the Tuscarora Indians (Landy 1955) I used a special 
child interview constructed by Whiting and others (n.d.) for cross-cultural 
field studies of socialization. While I have not yet analyzed the Tuscarora 
data, my impression was that the child interview probably elicited more 
relatable and valid material than doll play, and did not consume as great 
expenditure of time, energy and money. Professor Whiting has informed me 
that this agrees with the conclusions of the teams he sent into five societies to 
study socialization. 

I agree with Nadel (1955) that while no projective technique currently in 
use should be indiscriminately administered by anthropologists, we still stand 
in need of such a tool. This necessarily implies that interested anthropologists 
will be willing to try new techniques, provided they are fully familiar with 

Methodological Problems of Free Doll Play as Ethnographic Field Technique 167 

them and they have been shown to have some reliability and validity prior to 
field use. We can expect psychologists to evolve new techniques but it will be 
largely up to us to test their cross-cultural usefulness. Meanwhile I am also in 
agreement with Henry (1954) that primarily the anthropologist must depend 
upon the use of himself in participant observation, and must sharpen his use of 
the interview as the technique which most naturally lends itself to the collection 
of ethnographic data. 

Harvard Medical School, 
Department of Psychiatry, 
Boston, Massachusetts. 


1 . This paper is based on an ethnological study of socialization in a rural Puerto 
Rican village. The author was assistant director of the Family Life Project, sponsored by 
the Gentro de Investigaciones Sociales, Universidad de Puerto Rico, 1951-1953, and 
assumes total responsibility. The Laboratory of Human Development, Harvard Univer- 
sity, collaborated closely and generously permitted use of its facilities and techniques. 


Bell.J. E. 

1948. Projectile Techniques. New York, Longmans, Green & Co. 
Henry, Jules 

1955. Projective Testing in Ethnography (with comments by S. F. Nadel, William 
Caudill, John J. Honigmann, Melford E. Spiro, Donald W. Fiske, George 
Spindler, and A. Irving Hallowell). American Anthropologist 57 : 245-270. 
Henry, Jules and Zunia 

1953. Doll Play of Pilaga Indian Children. In Personality in Nature, Society, and Culture, 
C. Kluckhohn, H. A. Murray, and D. Schneider (Eds.), New York, Alfred 
A. Knopf. 
Henry Jules, and Melford E. Spiro 

1953. Psychological Techniques: Projective Tests in Field Work. In Anthropology 

Today, by A. L. Kroeber and others. Chicago, University of Chicago Press. 
Landy, David 

1955. Child Training in a Contemporary Iroquois Tribe. Boston University Graduate 
Journal 4 : 5964. 

1956. "Culture, Family and Childhood in Rural Puerto Rico." Ph.D Thesis, 
Harvard University. 

Maccoby, Eleanor 

1953. ** Some Antecedents of Fantasy Productivity.** Laboratory of Human Develop- 
ment, Harvard University (unpublished memorandum, dittoed). 
Pintler, Margaret H. 

1945. Doll Play as a Function of Experimenter-Child Interaction and Initial 

Organization of Materials. Child Development 16: 145-161. 
Whiting, John W. M., and Others 

n.d. Field Guide for a Study of Socialization in Five Societies. Laboratory 7 of Human 
Development. Harvard University (multigraphed). 


Margaret Mead 

In 1952, the Wenner-Gren Foundation International Symposium on Anthro- 
pology (Kroeber, 1953) drew together scholars and scientists in the various 
fields of anthropology, and a new synthesis was attempted which after a 
quarter of a century of divergent and uncoordinated development in the study 
of physical anthropology, linguistics, archeology and ethnology has ushered in 
a new era of integrated research. But there is one discipline with a long and 
honorable tradition, with its own distinctive vocabulary and methodology, its 
own associations and periodicals, which, while included, showed little trace of 
cross-fertilization either with the other relevant anthropological disciplines or 
with other fields, such as modern history, dynamic psychology, ethology, and 
so on (Thompson, 1953). This paper is designed to present a theoretical frame- 
work within which the work of modern folklorists can be integrated with on- 
going and developing theories of human evolution and cultural change. 

In the period when the style of folklore research was developed, the attention 
of scholars was focused on macro-studies of cultural process. The aims of re- 
search were to trace paths of diffusion in order to establish historial connections, 
or to illustrate the psychic unity of mankind either by showing the differential 
receptivity of different cultures to different themes, or by demonstrating the 
recurrence of the same human themes where contact seems unlikely. The 
methods appropriate for this kind of research included the making of collections 
of versions of a tale or rite in different tribes, the consideration of evidence of 
culture contact, and the establishment of criteria for probable lines of contact 
and of ways of handling theme, plot, incident, and so on. This was the period 
of concordances; the methods have been ably summarized by Lindgren (1954). 
European scholars stressed change over time; American scholars stressed the 
spatial distribution of tales (Benedict, 1931). 

In a second type of research, the themes and content of tales were used to 
specify the relationships between universal psychological characteristics of 
mankind and cultural forms. Recurrent human themes the hero, conflict 
between father and son, the magic flight, animal husbands, etc. were studied 
both as expressions of these universal characteristics and as particular forms 
expressed in the plots and themes of particular localized cultures (Roheim, 
1934). Psychoanalysts (Rank, 1914) and students of culture and personality 
(Kardiner, 1939) drew upon folklore to establish statements about the nature of 
man's psyche or the character formation of a particular people. 

Most of this work, whether it was done by folklorists or by those who drew 
upon their research, was characterized by a tendency to treat folklore in its 
narrowest and in its widest sense as anonymous. Preoccupation with the con- 
trast between folk tale and myth, on the one hand, and the identified idio- 
syncratic products of the individual imagination, on the other, and the general 
tendency of the period to deal with macroscopic theoretical problems, together 
resulted in the recording of the tale without the teller, the rite without the 

A New Framework for Studies of Folklore and Survivals 169 

practitioner, the covey of witches with no witch identified. Throughout this 
period, there has been a slender thread of emphasis upon the importance of 
identifying not merely the tribe or the village and the date but also the individual 
and the situation, but for the most part it has remained an inexplicit procedure 
buried in a developing field practice that has far outrun its theoretical formula- 
tion (Mead, 1958). 

Meanwhile we have had an opportunity to explore the theoretical possibilities 
for an understanding of the processes of cultural change of studying fully 
identified individuals within an identified group followed over time. Research 
of this kind has been done on the Manus people of Peri Village in the Admiralty 
Islands, where the same individuals fully specified have twice been studied 
in a period of twenty-five years (Fortune, 1935; Mead, 1930, 1934, 1956; 
Schwartz, n.d.). From the study, in 1928-29, and the re-study, in 1953-54, we 
have gained new insight into the nature of cultural change (Mead, 1954). 
The change among the Manus who were just emerging from a neolithic type 
of culture in 1928 and who, in 1953, had transformed their own culture and had 
modified the kinship system, the economic system, and the ethical system so as 
to accommodate the full pattern of western culture of school literacy, church, 
democratically functioning community council, modern medical ideas, and 
modern ideas of taxation, political responsibility and political membership 
in the modern world was a patterned change which resulted in less individual 
and social disorganization than has been reported elsewhere in cultures where 
change was much less drastic and more partial and fragmentary. Two nativistic 
cults developed in the seven years since the social revolution, and it was possible 
to follow in detail the way in which fragments of dissociated beliefs both from 
the old aboriginal culture and from partly understood, literal-minded Christian 
preaching formed the nucleus for these cults which were essentially anti- 
thetical to the orderly inclusion of a people with a less-organized culture into 
the developing Pacific-wide culture of the twentieth century (Mead and 
Schwartz, 1957). The organized movement for change, on the other hand, 
with its emphasis upon sudden, complete change of pattern and upon the 
overall support needed to maintain and develop the new pattern, contained the 
necessary elements for integrating the small group of Manus-speaking natives 
and some of their neighbors into the wider polity, not only politically but also 
in terms of their entire system of values and aspirations. 

The Manus material has raised several fundamental questions about the 
extend to which rapid change may be more beneficial 2 than slow change, 
about the importance of self-transformation by a group which remains intact, 
and about the need to reexamine the functions of survivals of belief or rite in a 
changing society. There have, of course, been many studies of African survivals 
in the New World (Herskovits, 1941), of witch cults in Europe, and of pagan 
ceremonies around the Mediterranean and elsewhere, and there have, been 
many pronouncements, both scientific and partisan, as to the worth of such 
survivals, for good or bad. But such statements have been generalized for the 
whole culture or the whole society or the survivals themselves have been used 
as one measure of whether a society was indeed a "folk society" (Redfield, 
1956), or whether a group of people should be called peasants or farmers. 

It is the proposal of this paper that survivals should be studied in a new way 
so as to include not only localization in time and place for each tale or practice 
but also specification of the practitioners and of those who know and transmit 
the tale and of the conditions under which the survival is reenacted or 

170 Men and Cultures 

transmited. This would mean that the dramatis personae of any rite would be 
fully placed in a defined social context. Are they aristocrats playing at ancient 
glory, or farm laborers whose symbolic dances appeal to some criminal or 
deviant elements from the fashionable world, or the unconscious collaborators of 
commercial criminals, or a small intermarrying group where the survival is 
the means of maintaining the too-narrow intermarriage system, or a group 
which because of habits of secrecy is a festering point of political subversion ? 
The answers to such questions can come only from studies of the actual prac- 
titioners of some ancient rite and of their links with the wider world of the 
conflicts and compromises with church, state, town council, the underworld, 
and so on. 3 

In Manus we were able to trace in the contemporary culture the present 
position of one small survival, one bit of black magic for killing infants. The fact 
that this magic survived was due to an anomaly. This bit of magic had no 
associated fetish objects and so, when the other practitioners threw away the 
material symbols of their magic powers, old Poli had no way of throwing 
his away. Meanwhile, the acceptance of modern medicine was not accom- 
panied by sufficient modern medical care to prevent many infant deaths, and 
explanations in terms of this one existing charm began to creep back in. In one 
individual case after another, we were able to trace how people, who were 
differently placed in the rapidly transformed social system, reacted. Some had 
their infants precautionarily charmed in spite of the cost and the laborious 
taboos; some waited until their infants became ill; some maintained that the 
charm could not work evil unless a quarrel also was involved. Meanwhile, 
Poli had taught the charm which was a source of income to his son-in-law, 
who had become the support of his household when his own sons had proved 
to be unreliable. Concurrently, European doctors had developed the custom of 
telling patients that diseases which they could not cure were "something 
related to the place"; they meant that these were local tropical diseases with 
which they were unfamiliar, but the Manus and members of other tribes inter- 
preted their statement to mean "caused by sorcery." Within this particular 
culture-contact situation, it will depend upon the behavior of identified individ- 
uals whether or not old Poli's one surviving charm becomes the festering center 
of a sorcery system of the type which so often has accompanied the conditions of 
culture contact where the new more universal religion replaces the beneficent 
white magic or religious practices of a people and only the black magic survives, 
underground, to become hypertrophied in situations of ignorance, social sub- 
mergence or social isolation. 4 

A number of careful detailed studies of personnel and situation would make it 
possible to reevaluate much of the existing material and to consider what kinds 
of survivals, under what conditions, become the foci of nativistic cults (Wallace, 
1 956) which impede the integration of a given cultural group, which serve as 
felicitous reinforcements of local ethnic identity, and which tend to become 
so dissociated that, when diffused from one culture to another, they may 
traumatize generations of small children or serve to isolate further whole groups 
who think that, by joining some bizarre small sect, they are becoming part of 
one of the great religions of the world or are moving towards a respected 
position in the modern world. 5 It will be possible then to add new dimensions 
to discussions of whether blends between the liturgies of a pagan and a Christian 
society, or the double identification of deities as part of a local Balinese village 
pantheon and as members of the Hindu pantheon, the choice depending upon 

A New Framework for Studies of Folklore and Survivals 171 

whom the priest is speaking to (Belo, 1953) are desirable and for what 
purposes. Geoffrey Gorer (1936) has pointed out the value for Balinese art of 
the way the Balinese did not believe in their religion, this dissociated attitude 
towards their religion being itself a by-product and a continuing condition of 
the very high incidence of survivals in Balinese culture. Detailed study of 
identified individuals in Bali (Bateson and Mead, 1942; Mead and Macgregor, 
1951) makes it possible to relate the schizoid quality of Balinese character and 
the fragmentation of different historical traditions in Bali. Students of Middle 
and South America have documented the complex survivals into present 
Christian practice of pre-Christian elements, but it is the detailed studies of 
small communities, where the actual implications for individual lives and 
community functioning can be seen, that show the effects of clashes between 
the supporters of this traditionally sanctioned hybrid usage and a new type of 
missionary who attempts to purify the older practice, sometimes locking a 
large part of the community out of a church which they have lovingly adorned 
for centuries (Siegel, 1954). 

I should like to give one detailed illustration of how one woxild look at the 
survival of European folk rites in the American children's festival of Hallowe'en 
in this new way. Using the older folklorist approach, we would trace this annual 
festival of the Eve of All Saints to its Christian and pre-Christian origins, 
explaining in historical terms the various traditional items witches, ghosts, 
Jack-o'-lanterns made of pumpkins, their carved faces lit by candles, mischievous 
pranks and tricks, especially against the houses of lonely spinsters, tribute 
levied on the well-to-do by masked callers under threat of property damage, and 
a mass of divinatory practices like walking downstairs backwards carrying a 
candle and a mirror to see whose face appears over one's shoulder. We would 
note that activities that were once proper to adults are now the activities of 
children. We might point out the function in human societies of saturnalias, 
periodic festivals in which the normal rules of conduct are suspended and the 
normal positions of superordination and subordination are reversed. So children 
compelled all the year to respect property and to be polite to their elders, were 
given a chance once a year to express their suppressed impulses to ridicule and 
embarrass their elders and to destroy property. 

Still using older methods, but recognizing with Malinowski that survivals 
have contemporary functions, we would analyze what is happening to Hallowe'en 
observances today as local communities through their organized representatives 
Rotary clubs, chambers of commerce or tradesmen's associations collec- 
tively buy off the potential destroyers of property with collective "treats" 
in the form of parades, free movies, free distributions of ice cream, and so on, 
while shopkeepers give prizes for the orderly decoration of shop windows which 
formerly would have been smeared and scribbled with soap. 

Within the framework I am suggesting, the student would do something 
more. He would examine actual communities and identified individuals" within 
them and would work out in detail just which children and young people went 
too far in their destructiveness, exactly who in the community took the lead in 
buying off the children, and whether, in this transformed celebration, the idea 
of potential mischievous destruction was still being carried along. The question 
might then be asked and answered whether this apparently innocent chil- 
dren's festival has not been the carrier of elements of deep hostility and of practices 
of vandalism which, in our present type of urban living, have been expressed 
not only in Hallowe'en practices but also in the waves of vandalism which have 

172 Men and Cultures 

been sweeping the country. It would then also be possible to take a careful 
look at the latest attempt to domesticate Hallowe'en usage that of having 
children go from house to house to collect funds for a United Nations' agency 
and to ask whether this represents a final integration into the culture of a 
survival or whether this seemingly socialized behavior still retains some of the 
destructiveness of earlier forms. 

We are entering a period of planned cultural change as millions of people 
start new lives as immigrants and refugees, as rural peoples migrate to the cities, 
as westernization and modernization are brought to the peasant and primitive 
peoples of the world. A series of really detailed studies of how particular survivals 
have functioned in particular communities as members of different generations 
have utilized them in different ways for secret criminal subversive purposes, 
as the carriers of unacknowledged but valuable elements from an earlier culture, 
as a touchstone for the imagination of the artist, as the foci of a sense of identity 
should provide a new level of meaning to the work of the folklorist and a new 
dimension to our understanding of cultural change. 

American Museum of Natural History , 
New Tork, New York. 


1. This paper was presented at the Congress in Philadelphia under the title "A New 
Theory of Cults, Survivals, and Culture Change," but as it is directed primarily to 
students of folklore, it has seemed advisable to alter the title. 

2. The term beneficial can, of course, be used only when the value system of the com- 
mentator in terms of such criteria as mental health, reduction of the infant death 
rate, reduced incidence of crime, increase in artistic or scientific productivity, etc. is 
considered (Mead, 1953). 

3. Margaret Murray's last book, God of the Witches (1953), was an attempt to do some- 
thing of the sort historically, but the element of conjecture as to the repercussions of pre- 
Christian elements in the English court was too great to make this more than an intriguing 
speculation. What we need are contemporary studies. 

4. I am particularly indebted to the work of Alan Lomax and to a film made last year 
on the hobby-horse cult, Oss Wee Oss (distributed by the English Folk Dance Society), 
for focusing my attention on the importance of studying the actual personnel involved 
in the practice of a survival. 

5. The translation of Grimm's fairy tales and their use in English-speaking cultures 
with a very different character formation is an example of the first possibility, and the 
spread of small localized American religious sects into the West Indies, where they 
become identified with United States culture, is an example of the second (Mdtraux, 


Bateson, Gregory, and Margaret Mead 

1942. Balinese Character, A Photographic Analysis. New York, Special Publications of the 

New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 2. 
Belo, Jane 

1953. Bali: Temple Festival. American Ethnological Society Monographs, No. 22. 
New York, J. J. Augustin. 

A New Framework for Studies of Folklore and Survivals 1 73 

Benedict, Ruth 

1931. "Folklore." In Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, Vol. 6, 288-293. New York, 

The Macmillan Go. 
Fortune, R. F. 

1935. Manus Religion, An Ethnological Study of the Manus Natives of the Admiralty Islands. 
Philadelphia, American Philosophical Society. 

Gorer, Geoffrey 

1936. Bali and Angkor, or looking at Life and Death. London, Michael Joseph. 
Herskovits, Melville 

1941. Tlie Myth of the Negro Past. New York, Harper & Bros. 
Kardiner, Abram 

1939. The Individual and His Society. New York, Columbia University Press. 
Kroeber, A. L. (Ed.) 

1953. Anthropology Today. Chicago, University of Chicago Press. 
Lindgren, E. J. 

1939. "The Collection and Analysis of Folklore." In Bartlett, F. C.; Ginsberg, M.; 
Lindgren, E. J.; and Thouless, R. H., Study of Society: Methods and Problems. 
London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., pp. 328-378. 
Mead, Margaret 

1930. Growing Up in New Guinea. New York, William Morrow & Co. Reprinted in 
From the South Seas (New York, William Morrow & Co., 1939). Mentor 
edition (New York, New American Library, 1953). 

1934. Kinship in the Admiralty Islands. American Museum of Natural History Anthro- 
pological Papers, 34: (2). 

1953. Cultural Patterns and Technical Change. Paris: Unesco. Mentor edition (New 
York, New American Library, 1954). 

1954. Cultural Discontinuities and Personality Transformation. Journal of Social Issues 
(Kurt Lewin Memerial Award Issue, Supplementary Series, No. 8). 

1956. New Lives for Old, Cultural Transformation Manus, 1928-1953. New York, 
William Morrow & Co. 

1958. Apprenticeship under Boas. (In preparation.) 
Mead, Margaret, and F. C. Macgregor 

1951. Growth and Culture: A Photographic Study of Balinese Children. New York: G. P. 

Putnam's Sons. 
Mead, Margaret, and T. Schwartz 

1957. "Political Structures of the Admiralty Islands." In Reid, K. (Ed.), Political 
Systems of New Guinea. Sydney, Australia. (In preparation.) 

Metraux, Rhoda 

1954. "American Protestant Sects in the Caribbean." Unpublished paper read at 
the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Society, Detroit, 
December, 1954. 
Murray, Margaret 

1953. God of the Witches. New York, Oxford University Press. 
Rank, Otto 

1914. The Myth of the Birth of the Hero, trans, by F. Robbins and S. E. Jelliffe. New 

York, The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease Publishing Company. 
Renfield, Robert 

1956. Peasant Society and Culture, An Anthropological Approach to Civilization. Chicago, 

University of Chicago Press. 
Roheim, G. 

1934. The Riddle of the Sphinx. London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho- 

Schwartz, T. 

n.d. "The Paliau Movement of the Admiralty Islands, 1946-1953." (In prepara- 

174 Men and Cultures 

Siegel, Morris 

1954. "The Struggle for Souls in Guatemala." Unpublished paper read at the 
53rd Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Society, Detroit, 
December, 1954. 
Thompson, Stith 

1953. "Advances in Folklore Studies." In Kroeber, A. L. (Ed.), Anthropology Today. 

Chicago, University of Chicago Press, pp. 587-596. 
Wallace, A. 

1956. "Revitalization Movements." American Anthropologist, 58 : 264-281. 




Walter B. Miller 

The analytic system I will describe here was developed in response to the 
problem of the ethnologist who goes to a non-European society and attempts 
to describe or analyze that range of data which falls under the heading of 
"Government" or "Political Organization." The ethnologist frequently 
discovers that a great many analytic categories developed in connection with 
European societies simply do not fit what he finds in non-European societies. 
The Europeans who first began to contact non-European societies in the 
15th and 16th centuries were much struck by what they found, or failed to find, 
in the way of "government" in these societies. What they observed in many 
cases so obviously failed to correspond with European forms of government that 
they adopted the conclusion that these societies had no government and 
nothing political. In the strict sense of the word "political," in its original 
meaning, "that which refers to the socio-political organization of the Greek 
city-state," this was true. Most of the distinctive features of the Greek city-state, 
and thus of European governmental systems, were absent. These early observers 
generally adopted one of two apparently contradictory views: they saw the 
non-Europeans either as automatons, blindly conforming to tradition as if by 
some mechanical process, unthinking puppets manipulated by the iron hand of 
custom, or else as wholly capricious and without law, acting according to the 
whim of the moment or their passing childish fancies. 

However, if one approaches the problem of " government " on a level other 
than that derived from the consideration of European-type governmental 
systems, it is evident that men in all societies are "governed." Each society has 
a systematic method of regulating and coordinating the behavior of groups of 
people. On this level, the similarities between the methods by which coordina- 
tion is attained cross-culturally are far more impressive than the differences in 
the particular form in which these mechanisms are organized. On a reasonably 
objective level of analysis, the regulative systems of all societies may readily 
be encompassed by a common analytic rubric. Where, then, are the sources of 
the not inconsiderable difficulties encountered by European investigators in 
adequately handling the governmental or regulative systems of the so-called 
primitive or non-literate societies ? I will cite briefly only a few. 

The simple fact of belonging to a highly organized and complex society of 
itself induces a systematic perceptual distortion. With the specific cultural 
features of a given society serving frequently as a largely unrecognized baseline 
of comparison, characteristics are attributed to features of other societies that 
are primarily a function of the base of comparison and only secondarily related 
to the features themselves. The works, for example, of Max Weber, one of the 
most informed and sophisticated recent analysts of political phenomena, 
reflect the determining influence of his position as a European. Weber's 

176 Men and Cultures 

discussion of the regulation of human activity centers around the consideration 
of "imperatively coordinated" systems of organization. An extremely brief 
section of his work is concerned with groups coordinated according to a different 
principle, treated under the heading "Types of Government of Corporate 
Groups that Minimize Imperative Powers." One of the sections under the above 
heading is called "Anti-authoritarian Forms of Government," carrying the 
implication that "authoritarian" forms constitute the norm. Weber does not 
call his European-type governmental systems "Types of Government . . . that 
Maximize Imperative Powers," an equally valid description if a different and 
equally valid point of reference were assumed. 

Another factor making the objective treatment of governmental-type 
phenomena difficult is the fact that consideration of the area of government is 
highly charged with strong emotions. Most individuals in a given society have 
a deep commitment to their own society's system for regulating collective 
activity, and the strong influence of these values tends to impede objective 
study in this area. 

Much more subtle and deep-rooted than the fairly obvious effects of ethno- 
centric bias is the influence on political thought of the Indo-European linguistic 
tradition and the particular way of handling phenomena it involves. As Whorf 
has so ably pointed out, the Indo-European linguistic system tends to divide the 
empirical world into a collection of separate and static entities, and to endow 
abstract ideas and relational concepts with the qualities of concreteness, 
solidity, and manipulability. 

The school of thought dealing with political phenomena under the rubric 
"political science," "political philosophy," or "political sociology" is partic- 
ularly prone to this influence. The analytic and descriptive method of this 
school centers on a set of artificial conventionalized entities, derived from the 
pattern of Indo-European linguistic systems. The core terms Power, Authority, 
Force, Influence, and Sovereignty are treated, with rare exceptions, as reified 
entities, as qualities or attributes having a real and independent existence which 
can move, grow, increase, decrease, flow, be possessed, be lost, be augmented, 
be divided up, and so on. 

Lasswell and Kaplan, for example, speak of the "weight, scope and domain 
of power. . . . Increase or decrease in the * amount' of power may involve a 
change in its weight . . ., scope, or domain. . . ." The conveyed picture of power is 
that of a very tangible physical entity with all the attributes of concrete matter. 

In an admittedly inadequate attempt to cope with some of these problems, 
I have tried to develop a method of describing and analyzing a range of data 
relative to the regulation of human action that would be cross-culturally applic- 
able. The descriptive purpose was primary, reflecting my conviction that the 
most basic need in current political theory is a method for presenting data on a 
simple descriptive level through a system of categories which do not reflect 
the values or biases of any particular cultural system. Such a set of categories 
would be applicable to the entire range of cross-cultural data and able to 
accommodate all societies, from the simplest to the most complex. 

One result of my desire to minimize value considerations was an attempt to 
keep a firm conceptual separation between the level of objective description of 
observable phenomena and the level of motivation or value. To that end I have 
utilized a set of descriptive terms such as "coordination," "activity," "regula- 
tion," "authority role," "plan of action," that carry fewer and less intense 
value connotations than currently common descriptive terms such as "demo- 

System for Describing and Analyzing Regulation of Coordinated Activity 177 

cratic," " authoritarian," "leadership," and "power." Secondly, I tried to 
employ a method that would permit a description of regulative processes 
involving minimal treatment of motivational factors or psychological dynamics. 

A further aim was to present a "middle level" analytic system, whose 
categories would be close enough to empirical data to be readily applicable 
to concrete situations, and at the same time general enough to permit adequate 
relational comparisons and analyses. 

The system I will describe here is a highly condensed version of an account 
presented elsewhere in considerably greater detail and with many more 
concrete examples. Thus, in addition to the inadequacies inherent in the over- 
all formulation, the schematic and condensed nature of the present account 
introduces a measure of obtuseness and incompleteness not intrinsic to the 
system itself. 


This system of description and analysis takes as its point of departure the 
existence of coordinated group activity. It differs from those approaches 
which use either concepts such as power or authority, or organized groupings 
such as the state or tribe, as starting points. The term "coordinated activity" 
will be used to refer to that type of collective human action in which the 
individual rates of activity of the several members of an acting group are in 
some way mutually interadjusted. 

"Coordinated" action can be distinguished from individual action, collec- 
tive action, and interaction. Individual action can be carried on in the 
absence of a collectivity; a solitary hunter, a lone ploughman, or a single 
craftsman can achieve his objective operating alone. Collective action may or 
may not involve coordination; in non-coordinated collective action a group of 
individuals may work or act in proximity and be involved in a common enter- 
prise, but their separate actions are not temporally articulated; each works at 
his own rate. Examples are a scientific laboratory with a number of independent 
researchers, a group of agricultural workers or food gatherers working in the 
same field or area, each at his own rate, or an orchestra with each musician 
"warming up" before the start of a concert. Interaction involves responsive 
action; the actions of individual B are partly determined by the actions of 
individual A. Examples are a chess game, a tug-of-war, a duel, a round-table 

For purposes of description and analysis, the flow of coordinated activity can 
be broken down into sub-sequences. The analytic "unit" of coordinated activity 
is to some extent arbitrary and to some extent clearly marked by observable 
boundaries. This unit, which is somewhat analogous to the phoneme in 
linguistics, can be called the "activity episode." An activity episode is 9. sub- 
sequence of activity cut from the continuity of ongoing coordinated action. As 
in the case of the phoneme, the activity episode is defined by a combination of 
two factors ; one factor is the observable physical events that serve to segment the 
flow of activity; the other is the relation of the sub-sequence to the broader 
"field" of coordinated activity of which it is a part. 

In practice it is usually a relatively simple matter to isolate clearly defined 
episodes of a more extended activity sequence. The English language contains 
many terms referring to specifically delimited episodes of various areas of co- 
ordinated activity. Among these are the "period" (education), the "set" 

178 Men and Cultures 

(tennis), the "course" (banquet), the "shift" (industry), the "round" (boxing), 
the "inning" (baseball), the "session" (legislation, other activities), etc. 

Episode Markers. In some coordinated activities such as a march, building 
construction, or a political rally, definite episodes can be distinguished which, 
unlike the above examples, are not specifically named. Specific sub-sequences 
in such activities, as well as in activities with named episodes, can be designated 
with considerable precision by referring to the observable events that serve to 
separate one episode from another. Those events that separate successive episodes 
can be called "episode markers." 

In cases where the beginnings and endings of activity sequences are less 
clearly marked, the limits of the activity to be considered can be specified by 
designating the episode markers that serve to bound the total activity sequence. 
A larger activity sequence of this type may be designated a "unit activity." 

Types of Episodes 

In all societies recurrent sequences of coordinated activity form part of the 
flow of organized societal life. These activity sequences are staged repeatedly 
in essentially the same form. Examples of activity sequences common in American 
society include the concert, the play, the football game, the convention, the 
surgical operation, the courtroom trial, the religious service, the parade. 
Because they are recurrent, sets of episode markers delineating beginnings, 
endings and included episodes for a range of coordinated activities are furnished 
by the cultural tradition of all societies. The nature of particular sets of episode 
markers and of the events comprising the episodes, however, varies from 
society to society. 

Once demarcated, activity episodes can be typed according to the extent to 
which the events comprising them have been determined in advance of their 
execution. Using as an analytic dimension "extent of predetermination," a 
dimension importantly related to the authority involved in the regulation of 
coordinated activity, two kinds of events can be distinguished; those which 
occur in accordance with a plan of action formulated prior to the start of the 
episode, and those which do not. All activity episodes contain both kinds of 
events, but the proportion of one to the other differs in different kinds of 
episodes. Four kinds of activity episodes can be distinguished according to the 
proportion of predetermined events they contain; "ritualized," "prescribed," 
"controllable," and "indeterminate" episodes. 

The great bulk of events comprising ritualized episodes has been determined 
in advance of execution by a tradition-derived plan of action; the primary end 
of actors is to execute activity with maximum conformity with the traditionally- 
formulated plan of action (The Hail Mary; Military "Retreat" ceremony). 
Prescribed activity episodes are also executed in conformance with a previously 
formulated plan of action, but one which has been produced expressly by known 
authors (act of a play, movement of a symphonic selection). In controllable and 
indeterminate events the order of event occurrence is not determined before- 
hand. Controllable episodes differ from indeterminate episodes in that all 
events comprising the controllable episode can be controlled by participants 
(chess move, tennis shot, jazz lick), while indeterminate episodes contain some 
events that cannot be so controlled (dice-game throw, abandon ship operations). 

Any unit activity sequence can be characterized according to the proportion 
of these four types of activity episodes it includes. 

System for Describing and Analyzing Regulation of Coordinated Activity 179 

The Action Group. Once an activity is described and characterized in terms of its 
component events and included episodes, the salient characteristics of those 
participating in the activities can be cited. Note that the description of activity 
participants is logically subordinate to, and temporally subsequent to, the 
description of the observed events of coordinated activity. The characteristics 
of groups participating in coordinated activity vary widely, corresponding to 
the wide range of variation in types of coordinated activity. Features of the 
group such as size, degree of segmentation, amount and kinds of role differen- 
tiation, significant characteristics of members, and the "permanency" of the 
group as such may be cited. 

Action groups may vary in the extent to which they are composed of identi- 
fiably separate segments and in the degree of internal role differentiation seg- 
ments exhibit. At one end of the scale are groups with one or a few distinct 
segments and little or no role differentiation (Rockettes, sculling crew), at the 
other, groups with many segments and much internal role differentiation 
(ship's crew, construction-company workers). 


The method for describing and analyzing coordinated group activity so 
briefly outlined here, while it can serve to delineate a field of data of great 
interest in its own right, was developed primarily to serve as a basis of an 
operational method for identifying and describing the set of roles in a society by 
which coordinated activity is effected. 

Once the question "What is done" is answered, the question "How is it 
effected" can be asked. Individuals engaged in coordinated activity perform a 
wide range of actions. Some relate primarily to the task objective of the activity, 
others primarily to interaction with fellow participants; many involve both 
objectives. In any case, effectively coordinated activity demands that there be 
some method by which participants may know what it is they are to do. In 
many activities a designated member or members of the action group perform 
the special job of communicating to participants what actions they are to take 
at given times. In other activities, participants act in the absence of such direct 
communication. The totality of measures by which methods of procedure are 
communicated to participants in coordinated activity can be called the regula- 
tion of coordinated activity. As when describing the coordinated activity and 
the action group, the question "What is done?" is asked before the question 
"By whom?" 

The delineation of the system of roles in a society through which coordinated 
action is effected can be achieved by the use of two concepts the regulative 
function and the regulative agency. 

An action or set of actions performed to coordinate collective action can be 
called a "regulative function." Four sets of major regulative functions can be 
cited iformulative functions, expositional functions, directive functions, and adjustive 
functions. Two or more subordinate functions are included in each set. 

Regulative Functions 
Formulative Expositional Directive Adjustive 

Selection Instruction Ordering Adjudication 

Formulation Exemplification Signaling Mediation 


180 Men and Cultures 

Formulative Functions. Formulative functions are concerned with derivation of 
the plan of action governing the execution of a given activity sequence. 

The basic formulative function is that of selection. Selection involves choosing 
one alternative procedure or item from a number of available procedures or 
items. The extent to which selection is necessary and the duration of the pro- 
cedural sequences selected depend on the degree of permitted latitude associated 
with the involved activity. 

Where longer sequences are selected for execution at a specified time, the 
plan of action governing that sequence has generally been drawn up sometime 
prior to selection and by persons other than those who make the selection. The 
process of originating a plan of action can be referred to as "formulation." 
Formulation always involves selection and arrangement, but selection can be 
independent of formulation. 

Collective formulation is frequently called "decision-making." Activity 
sequences involving collective formulation or selection may comprise included 
episodes of longer activity sequences (pitcher-catcher-first-baseman "huddle"), 
or may themselves comprise a unit activity (legislative session, board meeting). 

Expositional Functions. Expositional functions are performed to impart knowl- 
edge of methods of procedure to participants in coordinated activity. Such 
exposition may concern the specific procedures of a given episode (briefing 
football players on the details of a play) , or may involve more generalized rules 
of procedure (pre-fight instructions to boxers) . Instruction is a generalized and 
direct form of exposition. 

Exemplification is a form of exposition wherein methods of procedure are 
demonstrated by the actual performance of a person or group. Verbal instruc- 
tions may accompany exemplification ("Do it this way"), or may not. 

Directive Functions. Directive functions are exercised to initiate given activity 
sequences and to maintain the continuity of activity. The regulative function 
that operates most directly to trigger action is the order. An order communicates 
to the participant in coordinated activity what action he is to take. 

An order may also be communicated by means of a non-verbal signal. 
The policeman's whistle may mean "Stop" or 'Go"; the orchestra conductor's 
downbeat represents the order "Start playing"; the bugle call "reveille" 
means "Everybody get out of bed." 

Adjustive Functions. Adjustive functions are concerned with securing and 
sanctioning adherence to procedural rules and directives governing a coordi- 
nated activity. Non-adherence to orders or procedural rules may be intentional 
or inadvertent. In either case adjustive functions are exercised to minimize 
non-conformity to directives. 

The adjudicative function is exercised to decide which of a range of altern- 
ative events is permissible during a given episode (ruling by chairman: 
proposed action is "out of order"; professor: "books may be used during the 
examination"), which of a range of permissible events has occurred (baseball 
umpire: "Strike"; athletic contest judge : "Runner A was first"), or whether 
unpermissible events have occurred (boxing referee: "Low blow"; orchestra 
conductor: "Wrong note"; examination monitor: "Talking"). 

The penalizing function involves the selection and application of penalties 
for non-adherence to procedural rules. Penalties may take many forms, ranging 
from mild rebuke to physical punishment. 

Mediative functions are exercised to reconcile conflicting formulations or 
selections and to prevent the occurrence of such conflict. In adjudicative media- 

System for Describing and Analyzing Regulation of Coordinated Activity 181 

tion or arbitration, an attempt is made to find some middle ground between 
opposing interpretations of procedure of conflicting formulations. 

Regulative Agencies. The range of regulative functions necessary to coordinate 
collective activity is performed in all societies. Specific functions and sets of 
functions, however, are allocated to designated regulative agencies in many 
different ways. For this reason a consistent conceptual distinction between the 
functions performed and the agencies performing them is necessary to accurate 
comparative analysis of regulative systems. Two types of regulative agencies 
can be cited: the authority role and the authority organ. 

The Authority Role. Regulative functions associated with the coordination of 
collective activity may be performed by incumbents of specially designated 
positions, referred to as "authority roles." An authority role may be defined as a 
conceptualized position within a system of interpersonal relations whose incum- 
bent is authorized to perform designated regulative functions for a designated 
action group during designated activity episodes. 

An authority role may or may not have a specific name. Most authority roles 
associated with American activities are named. Examples from American 
society are drill sergeant, coxswain, orchestra conductor, ship's captain, 
foreman, football coach, presiding officer, cheer leader, etc. A named role may 
be associated with a specific activity (quarterback, football) or may be generic 
(boss, of office staff, road gang, logging crew, etc.). 

The range of regulative functions associated with any given activity may be 
performed by the incumbent of a single authority role, or may be allocated to a 
number of roles. Any authority role may be described in terms of the regulative 
function or functions its incumbent is authorized to perform. An authorized 
function is one whose exercise eventuates in intended responsive action by those 
to whom it is directed. An authority role may be thought of as a set of authorized 
functions assigned to a particular incumbent; the set of functions has a persisting 
conceptual existence independent of any particular incumbent. Individuals 
subject to the exercise of authorized functions accept the right of the role 
incumbent to perform them; the incumbent accepts his responsibility to perform 

Allocation of Functions to Roles. The range of functions associated with the 
execution of a given activity sequence may be allocated in different ways. 
Some activities may be coordinated by the exercise of one or a few regulatory 
functions. These functions may be performed in the absence of a specific named 
authority role (activity : bridge game ; regulative functions : signaling ; associated 
authority role: none), by a single-role incumbent (activity: crew run; regulative 
functions: signaling; associated authority role: coxswain), or infrequently by a 
number of role incumbents (activity: grandstand cheering; regulative functions: 
selection, signaling; associated authority roles: head cheer-leader, cheer-leader). 

Where a wide range of regulative functions is performed, these may be 
allocated to one or a few authority roles (activity: Boy Scout hike; regulative 
functions performed: formulation, selection, exemplification, instruction, 
ordering, signaling, adjudication, mediation, penalization; associated authority 
role: scoutmaster), or to a number of roles. 

The Authority Organ. When regulative functions are performed by an organized 
action group, such a group can be referred to as an "authority organ." A 
frequent type of authority organ is one whose primary function is formulation 
or decision-making (council, board of directors, legislature, "staff"). Members 
of such a group act collectively to formulate details of activity or to draw up 

182 Men and Cultures 

extended plans of action. Details of activity formulated by such an authority 
organ are generally executed by a different action group, although some or all 
of the decision-making group may also be involved in execution. 

In more complex societies each specific regulative function or set of functions 
is generally performed by a separate corresponding organ or system of organs; 
in less complex societies the full range of regulative functions may be performed 
by a single organ (council of elders) ; in the simplest societies these functions 
may be performed in the absence of any specifically designated authority organ. 


The approach underlying the system I have described is based on an analytic 
"field" whose primary parameter is coordinated group activity considered as a 
sequence of events in time. The basic units of analysis are temporal units. 
Observable continued action is the point of departure for all subsequent descrip- 
tion. The basic question asked is "What is done?"; the question "Who does 
it?" is analytically subordinate. This represents something of a departure 
from most prevalent methods for analyzing social systems, which take as their 
point of reference the organized group, considered as a systematically related 

The two basic analytic units used in this system are the "activity episode," 
a temporally delimited sequence of coordinated action, and the "regulative 
function," an act or series of acts performed to effect the coordination of group 
action. Both these units are units of process or activity rather than structural 
components of organized group relationship systems. The utility of this approach 
derives in part from the fact that while the form of political groupings in various 
societies may vary widely, the functions performed to coordinate activities are 
analogous for all societies. Using the "function" and "episode" as analytic 
units makes it possible to include coordinative phenomena from all societies 
under the same rubric. While these units encompass data sufficiently specific 
to permit cross-cultural comparison, the distinctions they make are not so fine 
as to involve a proliferation of data on a highly specific level. 

The field of interest delineated by this approach is not coterminous with that 
of any existing disciplinary field. It cross-cuts the existing rubrics of "social 
control," "law," "political organization," and "government." It focuses on 
a range of data which all of these areas deal with and none subsumes entirely. 
It selects and organizes data around the process of coordinated group action, 
in whatever segment of society this may appear from the nuclear family to 
the whole-government regulative system. The merits or defects of this approach 
rest on an evaluation as to whether the range of data so selected is a useful one. 

Boston, Massachusetts. 


George P. Murdoch 

The first service of typology in any science is that of bringing order into masses 
of descriptive data by classing together phenomena possessing common charac- 
teristics that suggest similar scientific explanations, and by differentiating such 
categories from others on the basis of unlike characteristics which suggest the 
intervention of other factors or principles. Just as the proof of a pudding is in its 
eating, so the test of a typology is in its use. If research oriented by its categories 
and their criteria proves consistently productive of new knowledge, a typology is 
validated through its utility. As an example of such a useful typology we may 
cite the periodic table of chemical elements proposed by Mendelyeev, the empty 
cells of which have, I believe, now all been filled by newly discovered elements 
possessing essentially the predicted characteristics. 

Innumerable typologies have been proposed, of course, which have proved 
unproductive because of the selection of common and differentiating criteria 
irrelevant to scientific problems. Unproductive typologies are a stock in trade 
of philosophy as opposed to science. Some possess sufficient esthetic or intellectual 
appeal that they gain temporary standing even in the sciences. Notable among 
these are the paired polar ideal types so popular in sociology, of which a few 
have acquired a following in anthropology, to wit, the cooperation-competition 
antithesis and the folk-urban dichotomy. None, to the best of my knowledge, 
has warranted general scientific acceptance by serving as the springboard to 
significant new discoveries. 

In the area of social organization, more than in any other sub-field of anthro- 
pology, typology has proved its utility by stimulating a long and almost un- 
interrupted succession of major new scientific achievements. Through the 
contributions of men like Morgan, Tylor, Rivers, Kroeber, Lowie, Linton, Spier, 
Kirchhoff, Radcliffe-Brown, Steward, Eggan, Levi-Strauss, Goodenough, and 
many others, we now possess a truly remarkable series of viable criteria for 
classifying, differentiating, and interpreting types of family organization, kin 
and local groups, kinship terminology, and patterns of behavior among kinsmen 
in societies throughout the world. In a recent paper, 1 where I noted this fact, I 
also called attention to the marked tendency in recent research to view typology 
in a less static manner than heretofore, and to pay closer attention to its integra- 
tion with dynamic processes like those of socialization and culture change. This 
is a normal phenomenon when scientific advance has reached a particular 
phase of development. To cite but a single example, the Linnaean classification 
of living organisms, which had a strongly static character when first propounded, 
is today much more closely coordinated with dynamic processes like those of 
variation and natural selection, and particularly the varied mechanisms laid 
bare by modern research in genetics. In order not to repeat myself, I propose 
here to examine somewhat more closely the specific relationship between typol- 
ogy in social organization and the dynamic processes of cultural change. 

Any similarity between two or more societies, in social organization as in 

184 Men and Cultures 

any aspect of culture, is susceptible to only one of three possible explanations or 
to some combination of the three, namely, migration, independent convergence, 
or diffusion. Chance may be ruled out as a fourth explanation, since the invoca- 
tion of chance is never more than a confession of ignorance, and all chance 
similarities between cultures would necessarily turn out, if we knew enough 
about the facts, to be reducible to one or more of the three categories just 

A substantial proportion of the literature concerning the roles of migration, 
convergence, and diffusion has failed to relate them adequately to the central 
dynamic mechanisms by which cultures are both perpetuated and modified 
over time. At the risk of stating the obvious, I must summarize the basic factors 
involved in cultural dynamics, since some of the peculiar characteristics of 
typology in social organization have their origins at this level. All the factors 
involved can be reduced to three basic ones man's original nature, the en- 
vironing conditions encountered by the particular society at a particular time, 
and the culture held by that society at the time it faces the conditions in question. 
By "original nature" we mean the anatomical and physiological characteristics 
and the innate capacity and mechanisms for learning with which all members 
of the human race have been endowed through millennia of organic evolution. 
These determine man's basic needs and the range and limitations of his capaci- 
ties for action. The environment presents a range of possibilities for the satis- 
faction of needs and a series of limitations on the range of successful responses. 
Learning relates the behavior potentialities of man to the resources of the environ- 
ment by establishing as habits the kinds of responses which satisfy needs. Such 
of these as are generally accepted constitute the culture of the society. Culture, 
in turn, generates acquired or derived wants and techniques for fulfilling them. 

Since needs and wants are never fully satisfied, and environing conditions 
are subject to constant fluctuation, cultural techniques do not remain static. 
They undergo constant variation as attempts to improve them are tested out 
and as changes in the environment block off old channels to satisfaction and 
compel efforts to find new ones. The whole process is one of adaptation, as surely 
as is that of organic evolution. There is no escape today from conceiving of 
culture as fundamentally functional. But to regard cultures as wholly functional 
is neither wise nor sound, since every society is at any moment in the process of 
trying out new solutions to old problems and of attempting to discover primary 
solutions for urgent new problems. 

The role of the existing culture, or what is sometimes called the "cultural 
base," in the normal process of cultural transmission and change deserves 
especially close attention. Unlike the subjects of the experimental psychologist, 
who are invariably selected from individuals who have had no known experience 
relevant to the test situation or whose prior experience has been carefully 
controlled, human societies face any situation in which new adaptive behavior 
is required equipped with an enormous mass of prior experience stored up in 
their culture. Portions of this are certain to be relevant to any new situation, 
providing elements which can be synthesized to produce particular innovative 
responses and interposing definite blocks to the appearance of others. Thus 
British culture, transplanted to the New World, provided the elements from 
which the American Constitution could be composed and, at home, offered 
insuperable obstacles to the development of polygyny as an adjustment to the 
shortage of men created by two world wars. The role of the cultural base in 
innovation explains why independent technological inventions are common- 

Typology in the Area of Social Organization 185 

place in closely related societies, such as those of the Western world, but are 
extraordinarily rare in societies with markedly different cultural backgrounds. 
One thinks immediately of the dome among the Eskimo and the ancient Romans, 
and is then hard put to think of even a half dozen other fully authenticated 

In the area of social organization the cultural base has several distinctive 
characteristics not ordinarily found in other segments of culture. In the first 
place, it includes far more elements that are common to all known societies than 
is generally the case. I refer to the universality of marriage, of the nuclear 
family, of the common domicile of husband and wife, of their economic and 
sexual association, of their joint responsibility for the early care and socializa- 
tion of their children, and of the prohibition of incest between parent and child 
and between siblings. As opposed to this array of universals, I can think of 
only one trait of comparable complexity in the area of technology which is 
equally widespread, namely, the technique of manufacturing thread or cordage. 

Secondly, the interplay of universals in the field of social organization results 
in a sharp limitation in the possibilities of variation. Forms of marriage are 
limited to three alternatives: monogamy, polygyny, and polyandry. Rules of 
residence are limited to four alternatives or combinations thereof: patrilocal, 
matrilocal, avunculocal, and neolocal. Rules of descent are limited to three: 
patrilineal, matrilineal, and bilateral. There are only four alternative ways of 
designating uncles and aunts, six of designating first cousins, and so on through- 
out the range of social organization. By contrast, alternatives tend to be exceed- 
ingly numerous in most other aspects of culture. In the field of folklore, for 
example, the number of possible themes, characters, plots, and incidents is 
practically limitless. An important result of the limitation of possibilities in the 
area of social organization is that any society which for any reason modifies 
any basic feature of its structure can only exchange it for another which 
numerous other societies have already independently adopted. 

Thirdly, in social organization as opposed to most other aspects of culture, 
societies are normally compelled to choose among positive alternatives. Every 
known society possesses some form of marriage and family organization, some 
type of kin group and kinship system, some rule of residence and of descent. 
There are none which completely lack marriage, kinship terms, residence rules, 
and the rest. Elsewhere, however, the choice ordinarily lies, for example, between 
realistic art, abstract art, and no art at all ; between various modes of warfare 
and no war at all ; between different types of political structure and no political 
as opposed to familial institutions ; etc. The student of social organization is 
thus placed in the enviable position of not having to cope with absences or 
negative alternatives in constructing his typologies. 

We may now return to the analysis of the three possible interpretations of 
similarities in social organization in different societies migration, convergence, 
and diffusion. Migration presents no real problem. Any resemblance due to 
migration is a genuine genetic similarity, produced by the same processes of 
transmission as prevail within any single society. From the point of view of the 
dynamics involved, the similarities between modern New Zealand and Great 
Britain, for example, differ in no significant respect from those prevailing in 
different parts of Great Britain or between one generation of Britishers and the 

In the case of convergence, however, we are dealing with the manifestations 
of two quite independent genetic processes which reveal points of basic similarity 

186 Men and Cultures 

due either to man's common original nature, to likenesses in the environing 
conditions in the two societies, to common factors or predisposing features in 
the two cultural bases, or to some combination of the three. The two manifes- 
tations have no genetic relationship. They are merely parallel adaptations, like 
the bats and the birds in zoology. 

Now how about diffusion? Anthropologists have been prone to assume that 
similarities due to diffusion or cultural borrowing, like those due to migration, 
bear a genetic relationship to one another rather than a relationship of parallel 

It is a major thesis of this paper, however, that, in the area of social organiza- 
tion at least, diffusion bears a much closer relationship to convergence in the 
dynamics involved than it does to migration, and that it is, in essence, only a 
special case of convergence. In migration, the transmission of culture is whole- 
sale and complete; modifications appear only after the movement has occurred 
and consist at first exclusively of changes forced by the new environing condi- 
tions. In the case of diffusion, however, the transmission is partial and highly 
selective. A people borrows from its neighbors only what its cultural base is 
prepared to accept and, among such elements, only what its members have 
reason to feel will satisfy their wants better than existing practices, and, among 
such, only the elements which actually prove, after trial, more satisfying under 
the environing conditions. In actual fact, the presence of other peoples with 
differing cultures in the vicinity is reacted to as is any other aspect of the environ- 
ment, as a source to be selectively drawn upon for innovations which may bring 
superior adaptation. As Malinowski long ago pointed out, cultural borrowing 
is a creative process having much in common with other types of innovation. 
We must therefore conclude that, from the point of view of the dynamics 
involved, similarities resulting from diffusion and from convergence form a 
single class, and that those resulting from migration fall into a separate class. 

If this is true in general, it is particularly true within the area of social 
organization. An extended family, a patri-sib, or a Crow system of kinship 
terminology obviously cannot be borrowed, given a quick trial, and then 
accepted or rejected in accordance with the results in the same way that this 
can and regularly does happen with, for example, a steel knife, a new culti- 
vated plant, a cigarette, an item of foreign clothing, or a new song, ritual, or 
folktale. A change in social organization involves a wholesale readjustment of 
interpersonal relationships, and can normally come about only piecemeal as 
individuals react one after another to the pressure of new circumstances which 
render traditional patterns of behavior less satisfying than formerly. It seems 
probable, therefore, that modifications in social organization ordinarily occur 
only through the normal genetic processes of adaptive change. Similarities in 
social structure found in different societies are thus much more likely to be due 
to migration or to independent convergence than to diffusion. Consequently 
diffusion should never be invoked as an explanation except in the presence of 
very strong corroborative evidence. 

Does the existence of uniformities in social organization ~over large and 
contiguous geographical areas constitute such evidence? By no means 
necessarily. If the tribes of the area are closely related linguistically, like the 
Muskogeans of the Southeast, the Central Algonkians, or the Basin Shoshoneans, 
a genetic relationship through fission and migration is ordinarily much more 
probable. Even where linguistic differences rule out such an interpretation, 
parallel adaptation to similar environing conditions is always a possibility. 

Typology in the Area of Social Organization 187 

The similarity in conditions may often, of course, be attributable to diffusion 
in some other aspect of culture, e.g., the economic, to which different peoples 
have then reacted independently by modifying their social organization in 
parallel directions. In Africa, for example, the introduction of cattle among 
agricultural peoples who have previously lacked them has repeatedly precipi- 
tated, in remote as well as adjacent regions, parallel trends toward the adoption 
of a high bride-price, patrilocal residence, and patrilineal descent. 

Occasionally the presence of alternative adjustments in the social systems 
of adjacent societies provides concrete evidence that they have evolved their 
similar structural forms independently. Thus the Navaho, who certainly 
borrowed their agriculture and sedentary mode of life from their Pueblo 
neighbors, and who equally certainly exchanged their earlier bilateral social 
organization for a matrilineal one of the same gross type as that of the Western 
Pueblos, clearly did not copy their neighbors in this respect, for the details 
of their social system are markedly different. In abandoning their earlier 
Hawaiian cousin terms, for example, they did not borrow the Crow terminology 
of the Hopi and Zuni but evolved the alternative and equally adaptive Iroquois 
pattern. What presumably happened was that their preexisting rule of matri- 
local residence, given the newly adopted sedentary mode of life, produced 
permanent local aggregations of matrilineally related kinsmen which could 
now crystallize into matrilineal descent. The process paralleled that among their 
Pueblo neighbors, but was independent. 

As a matter of fact, I can think of extraordinarily few cases anywhere in the 
world where the balance of probabilities seems to favor the direct borrowing 
of significant features of social organization. All of them involve a special mechan- 
ism, which was first isolated by Bruner 2 in a community of Mandan-Hidatsa 
Indians. Through genealogies Bruner was able to show that every member of 
the community who had adopted the Eskimo pattern of kinship terminology 
from the neighboring whites was himself the descendant of an interracial 
marriage. The pattern, in short, had been originally acquired from a parent 
through the socialization process and had thereafter been transmitted through 
the same mechanism. There was no evidence of cultural borrowing at the adult 

There are not a few instances where diffusion in social organization has 
demonstrably been mediated through intermarriage. Thus the Kunta Arabs of 
the Timbuktu region, who have in the past often taken Berber wives, have 
adopted the Berber practice of monogamy in the face of the general Arab 
preference for polygyny and the specific Koranic sanction thereof. The Ngoni 
of Nyasaland, descendants of invading Zulu warriors who intermarried with the 
local women, have abandoned much of their ancestral patrilineal structure and 
have adopted many of the matrilineal features of the societies from which they 
took their wives. The conquering Caribs of the Lesser Antilles likewise borrowed 
various matrilineal traits from the local Arawak women whom they married. 
The matrilineal Yuchi of the American Southeast, who lived during part of the 
contact period in the same settlements as the patrilineal Shawnee and presum- 
ably intermarried with them, are known to have exchanged their original 
Crow kinship terminology for one of Omaha type resembling that of the Shawnee. 
What characterizes all of these cases is the fact that diffusion was mediated 
through the socialization process. The elements of social organization were 
borrowed through the very same mechanism by which they are normally 
transmitted from one generation to the next. 

188 Men and Cultures 

A similar situation probably prevails in those areas of the world, like native 
Australia and the Northwest Coast, where custom prescribes local exogamy. In 
such cases every marriage unites representatives of at least slightly variant 
local cultures, and children grow up exposed to both and capable of selecting 
between them. Under these circumstances, elements of social organization can, 
without difficulty, spread gradually from group to group to the limits of the 
area. The conclusion seems justified, therefore, that genuine diffusion of signi- 
ficant features of social organization can occur only where intermarriage places 
the mechanism of socialization at its disposal. When this cannot be demon- 
strated as probable, all similarities in social structure between different cultures 
must be attributed either to fission and migration or to independent conver- 

Tale University, 

New Haven, Connecticut. 


1 . Murdock, G. P. Changing Emphases in Social Structure. Southwestern Journal of 
Anthropology, 11 : 361-370. 1955. 

2. Bruner, E. M. Two Processes of Change in Mandan-Hidatsa Kinship Terminology. 
American Anthropologist, n.s., 57 : 840-850. 1955. 


D. B. Stout 

Two of the aims of ethnology are to establish the range of variability in cultural 
forms possessed by the societies of the world and to discern the regularities of 
process and the universals, if any, among these forms. For many aspects of 
culture these aims have been realized, or at least the methodological procedures 
to be followed are becoming clear, e.g., social organization. We now possess a 
wealth of descriptive and analytical materials on many hundreds of distinct 
cultural systems with which hypotheses concerning culture have been and are 
being tested. But in all this there is very little which makes it possible for us to 
speak with any degree of conclusiveness or sureness about aesthetic beliefs or 
standards among the so-called primitive societies. In making this statement, I 
use the word "aesthetics" in its dictionary sense of referring to the branch of 
philosophy dealing with the beautiful, chiefly with respect to theories of the 
essential character of the beautiful and the tests by which the beautiful may be 
judged. In short, though the ethnographic literature contains much about the 
graphic and plastic art forms from many primitive societies, it yields little direct 
information on what ideas the members of these societies hold concerning 
beauty or aesthetic worth on the criteria by which they judge these forms. 
Perhaps my complaint, and the main thesis of this paper, can be made more 
lucid with an analogy : if we inquire into the ethnographic literature on some 
such issue as disease and its treatment we can find not only a wealth of data on 
the cultural forms employed in various societies but also a great deal of reliable 
information as to what the members of these societies believe to be the nature of 
disease, what their philosophy on this subject is and on what premises their logic 
concerning it is based. The same literature, if approached with the issue of art 
and aesthetics in mind, yields much technical detail about the art forms, usually 
well illustrated, considerable interpretation of the symbolic aspect and pene- 
trating functional analysis of art and the artist in his or her society, but almost 
nothing about the aesthetic beliefs which these artists had in mind while they 
worked or which they used as a basis of judgment of their fellows' work. 

This lack is all the more surprising in view of the fact that anthropologists 
have long been prominent in the writing of books and articles about the arts of 
primitive peoples the names Boas, Adam, Sayce, Herskovits, Lin ton, 
Kroeber, Weltfish, Bunzel and a host of others come immediately to mind, and 
Inverarity lists some 60-odd titles by anthropologists for the years 1952-53-54 
alone in his brief survey article on "Anthropology in Primitive Art" which 
appeared last year. In all of this writing, anthropologists have long since made 
it clear that the work of the adult artist in a primitive society is not to be equated 
with that of children in our own, or that it is not representative of an arrested 
state in human aesthetic possibilities, but, rather, that the graphic and plastic 
arts of each society, primitive or otherwise, are the result of independent develop- 
ments, each of which is historically valid in its own right. Meanwhile, aestheti- 
cians, philosophers, art historians and dilettants have continued to proffer 

190 Men and Cultures 

interpretations of primitive art, most of them inaccurate and some of them 
ridiculously ethnocentric: universal symbolism is assumed; primitive art is 
facilely equated with folk art of Euro-American societies; or it is regarded as 
a deviant or incomplete expression of human capacities. And such writings are 
reinforced with all the weight of prestigeful names ranging from Plato to 
Suzanne Langer. In short, though ethnologists have already accomplished 
much in the understanding of primitive art, they still have before them an 
important problem concerning aesthetics in primitive societies as well as the 
task of making their findings available beyond the anthropological fraternity. 

The quality of this problem may be indicated in the following manner: we 
can discern that artists employ four major methods to produce emotion and 
evoke aesthetic responses (1) employ symbols that have established emotional 
associations; (2) depict emotion-arousing events, persons, or supernatural 
entities; (3) enlist the spectator's vicarious participation in the artist's solution 
of his problems of design and technical execution ; (4) employ particular com- 
binations of line, mass, color, etc. which seem capable of arousing emotions in 
themselves. Usually, these procedures are employed in some combination. The 
first two require knowledge of the beliefs, value system, etc. if a cross-cultural 
understanding of graphic and plastic art forms is to be achieved. The third 
requires knowledge of the technology and its limitations, characteristics of 
the materials used, and the like, for the spectator to participate vicariously. 
Anthropologists, as a matter of course, deal with the arts of primitive societies 
with full and conscious awareness of the first three points above, and most of 
their writing about primitive art is cast in those terms. Non-anthropologists 
dealing with primitive art (and they are legion) however, approach and evaluate 
primitive art with some measure of ignorance concerning the first three pro- 
cedures but instead judge and select examples of primitive art on the basis of 
the fourth the formal aspect and make their evaluations according to what 
emotions are aroused or communicated by line, mass, color, and so forth. 
(Parenthetically, I am sure that anthropologists do this too, not only with art 
forms from their own society, but also in selecting examples from others, perhaps 
some primitive society with which they are doing field work and are also making 
a personal or museum collection.) 

That this should happen, that ethnologists sometimes and others frequently 
treat primitive art mainly or entirely as pure abstraction and with regard only 
to its organization of lines, masses, color, or form, the meanwhile ignorant of all 
or most of its symbolism, and of the techniques involved, suggests strongly to 
me (as it has to others) that there are indeed formal elements in the graphic and 
plastic arts which in themselves are capable of arousing emotions and evoking 
aesthetic responses. But about this matter we know very little beyond the borders 
of our own society, and what we know within Euro-American society is so 
ethnocentrically biased that it probably is not applicable elsewhere to any 
substantial degree. 

If it is ever to be shown that particular formal elements or combinations do 
indeed arouse emotions and aesthetic responses by themselves, and that these 
are universal, it will only be done through collecting the primitive artist's 
statements about his fellows' work, through understudying native craftsmen, 
and through the pursuit of controlled, cross-cultural experiments where 
objects from one society are presented to members of another for their aesthetic 
judgments. The present ethnological literature contains a bit of such information 
(writings by Bunzel, O'Neale, Himmelheber or Fagg are an example), but we 

Aesthetics in "Primitive" Societies 191 

need far more. I chose to bring this topic up at the Congress in the hope that 
this audience, and the readers of the Proceedings, will in their future field work 
give attention to the problem. 

University of Iowa, 
Iowa City, Iowa. 


Bunzel, Ruth 

1929. The Pueblo Potter. New York. 
Fagg, William B. 

1953. On the Nature of African Art. Memoirs and Proceedings, Manchester Literary and 

Philosophical Society, 94 : 93-104. 
Himmelheber, Hans 

1935. Negerkiinstler : ethnographische Studien tiber den Schnitzkunstler bei den Stdmmen der 

Atutu und Guro im innern der Elfenbeinkuste. Stuttgart. 
Inverarity, Robert Bruce 

1955. Anthropology in Primitive Art, in Yearbook of Anthropology. New York, Wenner- 

Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, 1955, pp. 375-389. 
O'Neale, Lila M. 

1932. Yurok-Karok basket weavers. University of California Publications in American 
Archaeology and Ethnology, 32 : ( 1 ) . 


Sol Tax 

When Columbus discovered America there were a great variety of cultures very 
different from the European by which the people of these continents lived. If 
we call to mind the way of life of The American Indian that Wissler, for example, 
describes, it would appear nonsense to ask whether acculturation has occurred. 
Do Incas still hold that tremendous empire together? Do the Mexicans cut out 
the hearts of prisoners atop the pyramids ? Do the Sioux still count coup ? 
Which tribes are chipping arrowheads now? To answer these questions is to 
say that of course Indian culture has at least lost a great deal of its roster of 
aboriginal traits. And if we ask if some Indians are Christians, or if they eat 
wheat bread or ride on horses, or if some speak Spanish or English, the answers 
tell us that in some degree the descendants of the aborigines have also adopted 
a great deal of European culture. 

In any ordinary meaning of the term acculturation the American Indians 
have undergone a great deal of it. At a recent meeting of ethnologists who 
study in Mexico and Central America there was considerable discussion of 
this point, and a sharp difference of opinion arose. Dr. Paul Kirchhoff (whose 
specialty is the early culture) at one point asserted that some 95 per cent of the 
aboriginal culture was lost. To those of us engaged in studying the culture of the 
present-day village Indians, this seemed an outrageously high figure. Even the 
most acculturated groups in Guatemala, Chiapas, Yucatan, and Oaxaca 
seemed to us much more Indian than European. They speak Indian languages, 
have a system of beliefs, values, and motor habits different from those of the 
Ladinos, and every aspect of their culture from technology to religion is a 
liberal mixture of Indian and European elements, and of course many novelties 
that arose after the contact between the two. Elsie Clews Parsons' study of the 
mixture in Mitla of course illustrates how much of the Indian there still is even 
in that relatively acculturated town. 

The discrepancy in point of view may be explained because different questions 
are involved: First of all there is the difference between asking how much of the 
aboriginal culture of the 16th century is to be found among the Indians today, 
and asking what part of present-day village culture is Indian. Second, there is 
the difference in the weight given to the great cultural works of a people, like 
the astronomical system of the Mayas, as compared with the ordinary culture of 
all the people. And third, is the difference between counting culture traits, or 
outward manifestations of culture, however they may be weighted, as contrasted 
with over-riding patterns, or themes, or the basic ethos. If one therefore thinks 
first of the ancient Maya, and their theocracy and temple cities and astronomy 
and systems of mathematics and notation and the like, of course the Indians in 
the villages today seem quite de-culturated and Kirchhoff is close to correct. 
It is quite different, however, to focus on the village today, and the ways of 
thinking and behaving of its people. There is still another difference in point of 
view that I must mention. One recalls the man who said that he has used the 
same razor for forty years; during that period he had replaced the blade five 
times and the handle twice but it was still the same razor. In similar fashion, 

Acculturation 193 

one may or may not choose to admit functional substitutions to the acculturation 
picture. For example, many of us see that, function for function, the Catholic 
saints are often simply substituted for the earlier gods. Perhaps there is only in 
fact a change of name, and the change ought not to be weighted heavily. Or 
the fact that Indians often substitute in their ceremonies the more recent dis- 
tilled liquor for their old corn or fruit ferments does not seem too important. 
Yet by admitting such substitutions one can easily reduce the whole matter to 
utter absurdity. Rifles instead of bows and arrows, or steel machetes instead of 
stone axes, but the culture hasn't changed. Do we also want to substitute for 
some hunting complex the institution of the butcher shop where cattle are 
slaughtered ? Or for that matter, one can argue that the whole social system is 
still pre-Columbian, with the mere substitution of a Spanish ruling class and 
Roman Catholic hierarchy for the old upper class and theocracy. 

In answering the question of how much acculturation has gone on, we have to 
recognize these choices. There is still another choice that is very relevant. There 
is a difference between asking how much acculturation has gone on over some 
long historic period, and asking how much is going on at any point in time. 
Oliver La Farge's study of cultural changes in northwestern Guatemala which 
shows that short periods of rapid change alternate with longer periods of 
quiet consolidation and reintegration is applicable to very much wider areas. 
In Middle America as a whole, most of the loss of aboriginal traits appears to 
have occurred during the first years after the Conquest. Acculturation isn't 
a matter of either steady or of homogeneous erosion. It is obvious that I did 
not put the question of whether acculturation occurs with any intention of 
giving an answer. 

To this point I have used Middle America to illustrate the difficulties we face 
in discussing problems of acculturation. The remainder of this article is con- 
cerned mainly with the Indians of North America. The same choices need to 
be made in this area; but in some ways the problem is simpler in North America 
than in Middle America. For one thing, the typical unit is the discrete tribe 
rather than the large complex society with its own sub-cultures. For another 
thing, history is shorter in most of North America : there was the first shock of 
pacification and loss of land, economic means, and freedom ; and then came the 
reservation period. 

This paper confines itself to the reservation period. The first major loss of 
aboriginal culture has already occurred ; the buffalo are gone, it is not legal to 
collect scalps, children go to school. The white man is all around, buying furs 
or beadwork or oil, or hiring Indians to work in field or factory, or simply 
supplying money and services. The Indians have made adjustments to new 
conditions, and every accommodation they have made represents a change of 
some sort in their culture. In other words, a great deal of acculturation has 
occurred. The question that is being asked for North America is whether 
acculturation generally continues to occur. 

I shall make a very bold statement to begin with, and then qualify it. My 
answer is that acculturation does not occur. Most of us assume that these small 
enclaves of American Indians must soon disappear. Perhaps there is a bias 
peculiar to United States sociology and anthropology that is connected with the 
American ideal of the melting pot. Immigrants from Italy, Poland, or Ireland 
came with their peculiar cultures, and in a generation or two were absorbed 
into the larger cultural stream. We tend to assume that the same must happen 
to the Navaho or the Fox or Iroquois. It is only a matter of time. The Indians 


194 Men and Cultures 

have perhaps been a little slow to get into the game that's because we've 
kept them on reservations. As soon as we turn them loose, like other citizens, 
they'll be quickly absorbed. 

My thesis stated in its strongest terms is that there is no reason to expect now 
that the Navaho, the Fox, or the Iroquois won't be with us for a thousand 
years or, as the treaties used to say, as long as grass grows and water runs. 

Now to some qualifications : I am thinking primarily of the subtler or inner 
aspects of culture, as opposed to the more superficial characters. This distinction, 
long labored by anthropologists like Benedict, Linton, Mead, Kluckhohn, 
Opler and many others, is still not clear. Nor are there stated operations by 
which to recognize the differences. Nevertheless, we all agree that outward 
forms may change while inner meanings may remain the same and vice versa. 
And, I repeat, my hypothesis that acculturation does not occur is confined 
largely to the area of meanings. 

I must qualify my proposition in still another way. This involves a couple of 
definitions. Take as a model a society which has a culture shared more or less 
by all of the individuals in it. Imagine Zuni, if you wish, or the Pine Ridge 
Sioux, or what have you. Imagine now that all of the Zuni stay right where 
they are, but their culture changes so that the norms of behavior are like those 
of the surrounding white society. I would call that acculturation, and say that 
the Zuni have acculturated. If they maintain a social cohesion in the small- 
town American pattern, having lost all Indian forms of social organization and 
remain socially apart from the larger community, then they are completely 
acculturated but not at all assimilated. This of course is an unrealistic model, 
since acculturation could not occur without very significant social relations, 
hence considerable assimilation. But I set it up to define community accultura- 

Now look again at our ideal type of unacculturated Indian community. 
Suppose the population is one thousand. Now imagine that one by one or in 
small groups, individual Indians leave the community. Possibly they are forced 
to leave by economic circumstances, or whatever accident. As individuals 
suppose that they then change their norms of behavior completely from those 
of the Indian community to those of the white world into which they have 
moved. Perhaps we don't wish to call that acculturation; one of my students 
thinks the word should be confined to group situations. In this case, at any rate, 
the individual and his children surely become assimilated into the larger 

If a hundred Indians leave the community in this manner, the remaining 
nine hundred are still an unacculturated community. If the whole thousand 
leave the Indian community, to be assimilated into the larger society, the 
Indian culture is of course dead. 

There are thus two ways for a culture to become absorbed into another 
by acculturation (meaning community acculturation) and by loss of individuals. 
Both processes always occur together, and are obviously related. (I have seen 
both in operation in Guatemala, where the situation is otherwise quite different 
from North America.) 

My hypothesis is (1) that acculturation is not occurring in North America; 
(2) that Indian societies lose individuals, but the rate is so slow compared to 
the vegetative population increase that (3) there are as many or more Indians 
in communities with Indian culture than there were a generation ago. And for 
all we know, the number may increase rather than decrease. 

Acculturation 195 

Such a proposition obviously has very significant implications for government 
policy; these I shall not discuss. It is important, however, to establish the propo- 
sition, or discover the degree to which it fits the facts. The work that we have 
done among the Fox of Iowa, and at the Fort Berthold reservation in North 
Dakota, suggests very strongly that there is much in the proposition. Of 
course what we know about the Southwest supports it. But reports I have read 
about the Penobscot Indians of Maine, and the Iroquois of New York and 
Canada which have had so long a history of contact also seem to support it. 

It is also necessary to fill in the hypothesis by describing the mechanisms by 
which American Indian cultures resist acculturation to our ways. 

I would like now, however, to try to make sense out of the hypothesis in more 
general historical terms. 

Let us return to our theory of the melting pot. Sociologists use the term 
acculturation in speaking of Italians, Poles, Irish and others ; indeed, these days 
we talk of the middle and lower classes as if they were different cultures. It is 
a matter of degree. But I think we ought to emphasize what is so obvious 
that it is being forgotten: Western civilization is one culture, and the differences 
that subdivide us are utterly inessential compared to those between, say, 
Europe and the Far East, or between the aboriginal Americans and Africans or 
Australians. In the tree of culture even the Near and Middle East are so close 
to Europe that we can expect fewer problems of communication than with the 
American Indian. A globe of the earth and history will show in fact that western 
European culture and that of the American Indian are more separate than any 
others except perhaps those of Australia and Tasmania. 

This is true for all American Indians in contrast with Europeans. Why should 
we expect easy transculturation ? 

But the difference is even greater between Europeans and North American 
Indians than between Europeans and the Indians of Mesoamerica and much of 
South America. In the latter places the Indians developed large societies and 
social classes and trade and the like, and hence there developed many parallels 
with Europe. But the North American Indians remained tribal. 

This leads me to what I think is the most important difference. The fact is that 
the North American Indians are among the few people on earth who never 
became in any sense peasants. 

I need not remind this group that some 7500 years ago there began to occur 
what Childe calls the Neolithic Revolution, and I think that most of us realize 
its tremendous effects on human social life and thought. The aspect of the 
change that I am emphasizing now can be dramatized as follows: you all 
recall the Book of Genesis, and the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden 
of Eden. Paradise was of course the food-gathering stage of human culture. 
Whether the Biblical story represents a nostalgic folk memory the change 
hadn't been so long before or not, the fact is that Adam's punishment was that 
he would have to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. Indeed, Adam and 
other full agriculturalists did sweat for their bread. Peasant life is a kind of 
slavery to property and to time; this is particularly true in the full agricultural 
economy that developed in Asia and Europe, where domestic animals were tied 
into tillage. In parts of America, Oceania, and Africa both plants and animals 
were domesticated; but generally only in Asia and Europe did a system develop 
where the two became thoroughly intertwined. Maize in Mexico requires 
seasonal care; in irrigated field crops there is special urgency. But in the full 
neolithic of barns and hay and pulleys and plows with oxen, and dairy cows and 

196 Men and Cultures 

all the rest here indeed man becomes a slave to daily chores, to time. Make 
hay while the sun shines is a realistic adage, and leads directly enough to 
compulsions about time and about protecting and saving for a rainy day and 
for posterity. Thousands of years of development of these institutions and ideas 
have left a stamp on European man; our habits of work-and-save have made of 
them a virtue and one basis of a whole ethical system. 

In all of this the North American Indian has not shared; indeed, it was with 
considerable shock that Europeans discovered noble red men whom they 
rightly saw to be free in some sense they were not, and who were rightly 
perceived to set a dangerous example. 

I must emphasize the point that the difference was a difference in the 
tradition of peasantry. The agricultural Indians with whom I have lived in 
Guatemala are nearly as much peasants as are Europeans, and in large part 
share the slavery to time and property, and the ethical values which accompany 
it. The contrast with North American Indians is emphasized by this comparison; 
here there was only the beginning of agriculture, and except for the pueblos 
in the Southwest no great dependence on it. And nowhere is saving more impor- 
tant than sharing; and where there is preoccupation with property it is rather 
with destruction of it than with its private accumulation. 

The great changes which began in the commercial and industrial revolutions 
of the past centuries may eventually end the slavery of the peasant. Urban life 
is much more independent of property and the compulsions of time and place. 
The mobility of the urbanite is somewhat comparable to that of the hunter. It 
may well be that Indians will communicate much more easily with Greenwich 
Village than with Main Street. 

Recall again the American theory of the melting pot. Sociologists now see 
that even Europeans haven't melted together as it was once supposed that they 
would. But the melting-pot theory itself was only partial, and took little account 
of genuine cultural differences. The fact that the Chinese, for example, showed 
few signs of melting was probably put down to the color bar, when indeed the 
cultural difference could well have been more important. Surely the color 
factor in Negro-white relations has not kept Negroes from a thoroughgoing 
acculturation to European ways and values. But the North American Indians 
are surely different enough culturally to explain any lack of acculturation one 
finds connected as they are to Europeans only by the most remote fork in the 
historic tree of culture; and divided from them by all the differences between a 
large society and a small tribe, and by the habits of thought and principles of 
peasantry and commerce as contrasted with the hunt. 

University of Chicago, 
Chicago, Illinois. 


Ruth M. Underhill 

This paper is a humble footnote to the literature on religious origins. In 
teaching primitive religion I found, as I suppose many here have, that we are 
now ready for a much more detailed classification than has yet been made. 
The separating of elements which have been roughly classed together will 
clear up some of the confusion and contradiction found among various writers. 
It may also help to work out a time sequence for attitudes toward the super- 
natural, at least in one culture. 

We often begin our speculations about such attitudes with the fact that 
Neanderthal Man, in common with some historic groups, painted the bones of 
his dead with red ochre (Linton, pp. 137). This has been taken, very reasonably, 
to indicate some sort of belief in a soul and an afterlife, no matter how crude 
and vague. Moreover, the use of red, which so often stands for blood and life, 
points to some conception of sympathetic magic. All we know of primitive 
behavior corroborates such a theory. I would suggest, however, that, compared 
with any form of animal reaction known, the positing of a soul seems a fairly 
advanced form of reasoning. Perhaps the proposition of sympathetic magic that 
like produces like demands less ratiocination, but neither can have been man's 
very first reaction to powerful and mysterious events. There must have been a 
long development of attitudes toward the supernatural before this stage was 

Even further development is indicated by such primitive beliefs as ancestor 
worship, animism, animalism, and even mana, which has a good many rules 
and functions. The point about these theories which astonishes anyone who has 
had long association with primitive groups is that they are all cognitive. They 
begin with the assumption that mankind was questioning the cause of phenomena 
which he did not understand. Doubtless he did, ultimately, or some intellectually 
inclined individuals did. On this point, I agree with Radin (ch. 4) that in 
primitive society, as in all others, there is an obvious difference between the 
thinkers and the unquestioning masses. 

The reaction of these masses is purely an emotional one whose expression 
can be channelled by the thinkers into particular grooves. If we ask what it 
may have been in very early man, the answer we get from many sources is 
fear. To quote two modern statements, Hutton says, "Primitive man," 'that 
frail phantom and waif in an unfriendly world,' lives beset by fears of every 
kind. They . . . prompt him to avoidances almost as instinctive as those of 
lower animals" (Hutton, p. 8). Karsten puts it, "The savage fears everything 
strange and mysterious . . . Forest, jungle, cave, mountain, thunder, lightning. 
. . . All these things awaken in him a sense of something supernatural and divine. 
... It is this sentiment that is the primary trait of religion." He soon goes on to 
give these phenomena a concrete form (Karsten, p. 27). 

My thesis is along this line. However, I would not go so fast as Karsten in 
assuming that the giving of a concrete form, that is, imagining a spirit of forest 

198 Men and Cultures 

or lightning, was an immediate result. To imagine a spirit and to give it a 
definite appearance means a thinking brain. To jump from instinctive fear to 
that sort of explanation seems to me almost as great as that from a hand axe to a 
flaked point. As the hand axe served a large portion of mankind as its chief 
and almost only tool for thousands of years, so I think it possible that, for much 
of that same time, man was reacting to what I shall briefly call the supernatural 
simply with fear, unmixed with any speculation or even the most rudimentary 
magical devices. 

Since even Neanderthal Man may have achieved both speculation and magic, 
this assumption leads us back into prehuman history. We now recognize that, 
even during the early Pleistocene, there may have been various forms such as 
Coon calls "half-brained men" (Coon, pp. 28-32), able to perceive the awe- 
some more clearly than Darwin's dog (Rivers, pp. 10 ff.) . Yet, surely, they would 
react to it in animal fashion. This fashion, when the very weak are confronted 
with the very powerful, is not combat, nor even flight. Rather, it is utter stillness, 
which may allow the frightened creature to be overlooked. This is the device 
of the rabbit pursued by the wolf or the bird by the hunter. It is akin to the 
system of camouflage in nature which makes the victim invisible. We can imagine 
that mankind, with a long history as the weak creature among more powerful 
beasts, had developed such an instinct, or at least such a habit, far back in his 

These half-brained forms had speech. They would have been able to convey 
ideas of mysterious danger and of ways to avoid it, long before they speculated 
as to its cause. I suggest that at some half-human stage the instinct to remain 
passive in the face of the supernatural, to "play dead" as it were, may have 
developed a set of rules which have spread to various situations. Such rules 
include seclusion, not looking at the sun or at fire, not touching the head or 
sometimes, the lips, those important parts of the body. Often there should be 
little or no talking, little sleep, little food. Perhaps the person in danger may 
have to sit in one position. 

Numbers of reasons are given for such rules as that looking at the sun will 
cause blindness, scratching the head will make the hair fall out, talking will 
make one a chatterbox. There is no integrating theology. In fact the reasons, 
which vary greatly from place to place, might even be later accretions. The 
sum of all the rules is simply a complete passivity, a reduction of vital processes, 
almost a simulation of death. Frazer and, after him, Durkheim have classed 
such behavior as negative magic. I would question whether it can even be called 
magic, since magic, in Frazer's own definition, is a means of manipulating the 
supernatural, and this kind of shrinking can hardly be called manipulation. 
May we not here be on the borderline between magic and mere animal reaction ? 

My next point is the question what situations produce such a very elementary 
response? Tylor (pp. 428-30) suggested death as providing man's first intro- 
duction to mysterious power. I agree that it must have been one of the first but, 
if so, the action of withdrawal must have been associated with it long before 
there was any theology concerning the soul and the afterlife. To this subject I 
shall return, for all death observances which we know of now do include this 
kind of theology. 

That statement does not apply to birth. In numbers of cases which we know 
of (Frazer, pp. 207-10), forms of withdrawal are practiced without any reference 
to a belief in souls, such as we find in the case of the dead. I have often wondered, 
in fact, whether birth might not have been more impressive to the primitive 

Withdrawal, An Early Means of Dealing with the Supernatural 199 

man or primitive post-ape than death. The abundance of female statuettes, like 
the so-called Venus of Willendorf, give proof of an early preoccupation with 
maternity. We have got past the stage of thinking that these indicate matriarchy 
or the worship of a female goddess. My own opinion is that they are charms to 
aid fertility and help with a safe birth. Leaving that controversial point aside, I 
would suggest that the recurring fact of birth, with its dangers and uncertainties, 
was a pivotal point in the life of early man and a natural place for the first 
reactions toward the unknowable to crystallize. 

Primitive cultures provide taboos for the parturient at least as often as for 
the mourner. These are of two kinds. The other sex must avoid her as a vehicle 
of supernatural power. Also she herself must often refrain from activity, from 
touching her head or looking at the sun. Often the newborn child must be kept 
out of sunlight until a ceremony has been performed, removing taboos from it 
and the mother. The couvade which included the father in the withdrawal 
practices is not so common. I suppose most of us disagree with the Freudian 
proposal that the father's inactivity indicates male jealousy of female creative 
power. Except in extreme cases, the prescription for the father is refraining 
from his daily work. He must not hunt, fish, or fight because he would have bad 
luck. True, a great many practices referable to sympathetic magic have accumu- 
lated around the basic fact of withdrawal. These, as I have suggested before, 
mean a certain amount of reasoning. They should be classified as a separate 
phase of birth practices and perhaps a later one. 

The treatment of the menstruant, and especially of the first menstruant, is, 
of course, to be classed with that of the parturient. Some later religions, like 
the Hebrew, have regarded the female in this condition as unclean. However 
Frazer (p. 223), and others after him, have proved clearly enough that what was 
later regarded as unclean was originally too sacred and therefore too dangerous 
to be touched. So the girls in many cultures were secluded and subjected to the 
same taboos as the pregnant woman. These strictures were relaxed oftener 
than were those for the parturient, perhaps because the danger did not seem so 
imminent. In time and in various cultures, the procedure for girls became en- 
crusted with ceremony which obscured the stark fact of withdrawal. Thus the 
elaborate dances given for girls on their return from seclusion (Driver, p. 28) 
are connected with the very practical matter of marriage arrangements. The 
African ceremonies, where a physical operation is performed, seem an attempt 
to affiliate the girl's treatment with boys' circumcision, which had a quite 
different origin and purpose. The Apache ceremony, at which the girl's touch 
confers a blessing (Opler, pp. 90 ff.), looks at first like an anomaly. Perhaps, 
however, it comes nearer the feeling that the girl is in a sacred condition. 

Withdrawal practices must have proliferated gradually to include many 
different situations with proscriptions against using or looking at many persons 
or things, from a neighbor's field to a king or a mother-in-law. At this stage, the 
various kinds of withdrawal have been given the technical name taboo. Some- 
times taboos are on the same non-theological basis as the seclusion of the 
menstruant. For instance, if a Navaho fails to avoid his mother-in-law, both 
will go blind and jump in the fire. No spirit is concerned. No reason is given 
except the fact that this is so. 

However, the many Polynesian taboos and also many among American 
Indians form part of a consistent theology. They are integrated with the idea of 
mana, the all-pervading supernatural force which may be focused in any object, 
organic or inorganic. This concept has appealed to many students as a basic 

200 Men and Cultures 

one beyond which we cannot go. Yet mana has its theology. It is sometimes said 
to come from a powerful spirit. It can be obtained from heredity or by effort. 
It can be lost. It is not the uncontrollable phenomenon seen in birth and death. 
It would be possible to imagine the mana and the taboo concepts as slow develop- 
ments after long periods of withdrawal. 

Even when further theologies were developed, including a belief in souls, 
ghosts and spirits, withdrawal continued to be an accepted response. In the 
treatment of the dead, already noticed, we find there are extreme cases where 
mourners are subjected to all the taboos enjoined at pregnancy and childbirth, 
with a further one not necessary for the secluded woman. This is sexual conti- 
nence, enjoined on all mourners and corpse handlers. Moreover, in this case, 
we find an incipient theology. Instead of a mere statement that some bodily ill 
will befall those who neglect the taboos, there is usually some myth about the 
spirit and the afterworld. 

One can well regard them as part of an incipient theology. But why do the 
mourners also practice acts of withdrawal? Why should it please spirits to have 
men abjure the food which keeps them alive or the sex intercourse which keeps 
their race alive? The statement that this means purity seems a civilized one, 
for primitive people do not think such acts impure. Nor can we say that such 
abstinence makes the devotee more like a spirit which neither eats nor marries. 
Such a conception of spirits took a long time to evolve, and even some present- 
day primitives do not have it. Is it not possible that here we have two layers of 
religious practice? The earlier one is the instinctive animal reaction of with- 
drawal, which began long before Neanderthal man painted bones with ochre. 
The later indicates some rudimentary theological concepts which would later 
people the world with different classes of supernatural beings. 

In the class of events subject to spirit influence, we may place not only natural 
death but murder, the killing of an enemy and the killing of fish or game. 
Frazer has already grouped these together, and later study of New World 
practices goes to confirm this statement. The element of danger here is that the 
soul of the dead man will haunt his slayer or the soul of the animal or fish will 
turn his kind against human beings. The explanation is reasonable and so are 
the ceremonies and offerings made. Again, there is withdrawal, in whole or in 
part, with sexual continence a prominent element. Frequently the reason given 
is that the deer or other animals do not like women. To explain this, we would 
have to fare into Freudian depths unless we consider that hunting is subject to 
chance, and therefore, to primitive thinking, to supernatural power. It should 
therefore be treated by the well-known ancient means of withdrawal. 

These procedures involve not merely a theology dealing with ghosts, souls, 
and other worlds. Often they use what Durkheim calls positive magic, such as 
hunters' amulets (Speck, pp. 227-230, pi. 36), or a scalp which has been purified 
and become a rain charm (Bunzell, pp. 674-689). Here I would like to bring 
up the matter of classification, mentioned earlier. Positive magic, which looks 
toward handling and controlling the supernatural, is purely a more sophisti- 
cated tool than negative magic which may come to no more than hiding. We 
can well imagine it to have been a later development, leading to elaborate 
theories of correspondence between objects or between present events and future 

The forms of magic which I have mentioned so far are more or less demo- 
cratic, practiced by anyone as a matter of tradition. They may all have existed 
before the days of specialists. To go further, we should have to follow fine dis- 

Withdrawal, An Early Means of Dealing with the Supernatural 201 

tinctions among specialists who are taught, inspired or hereditary, with all 
possible permutations. Although all of these wield an armory of devices for 
dealing with the supernatural, they make some elements of withdrawal a basic 
practice. It is my suggestion that, having been first used as an almost animal 
reaction to danger, they have continued into far different situations and have 
been glossed with theological explanations, having no connection with their 

Denver, Colorado. 


Bunzeil, Ruth 

1932. Introduction to %uni Ceremonialism. Bureau of American Ethnology, Report 47. 
Goon, Garleton S. 

1954. The Story of Man. New York. 
Driver, Harold E. 

1941. Girls' Puberty Rites in Western North America. Culture Element Distributions, 

16, Berkeley, University of California Press. 
Durkheim, E. 

1915. Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. Trans. J. W. Swain. London. 
Frazer, SirJ. G. 

1923. The Golden Bough. Abridged Ed. New York, The Macmillan Go. 

1933-1936. The Fear of the Dead in Primitive Religion. London. 
Linton, Ralph 

1955. The Tree of Culture. New York. 
Marett, R. R. 

1914. The Threshold of Religion. London. 
Opler, Morris 

1941. An Apache Lifeway. Chicago. 
Radin, Paul 

1953. The World of Primitive Man. New York. 
Rivers, H. R. 

Sociology and Psychology. Sociological Review, 9 : (3). 
Speck, Frank 

1935. The JVaskapi. Norman, University of Oklahoma Press. 
Spencer, Herbert 

Principles of Sociology. 
Tylor, Sir E. B. 

1913. Primitive Culture. 5th ed., Vol. I. 
Webster, Hutton 

1942. Taboo, A Sociological Study. Stanford, Stanford University Press. 
Karsten, Rafael 

1905. The Origin of Worship. 


C. F. Voegelin 

In order to identify the kind of typology which is restricted to "subsystems ", I list 
below, and discuss, three groups of papers concerned with ( 1 ) classifications 
of languages; (2) identification of subsystems within whole systems; (3) 
domains subsystems within the dictionary as related to the problem of 


Edward Sapir's Language had as its primary objective the revival of whole 
language typology which fell into bad repute because its 19th century pro- 
pounders (a) ranked their types according to an asserted evolutionary develop- 
ment; and (b) weighted their types according to a scale of ethnocentric values. 
Stated purely in linguistic terms' by Sapir, the whole language typology became 
accepted as legitimate but not exciting, respectable but not revived. It failed to 
arouse the research interests of any group of workers. 

In fact, the only fresh attempt to develop further Sapir's typology is found in 
Greenberg's recent paper, A Quantitative Approach to the Morphological Typology 
of Language, which obtains a derivational index, an inflectional index, and the 
like. This quantification is all to the good, but the theoretical framework for 
the various morphological indexes is a bit wobbly. It is not its concern with 
"the morphological structure of the word" which may or may not include a 
clue "of fundamental importance to the over-all characterization of a language" 
that makes a whole language typology what it is. One might just as well be 
concerned with phonological structures and seek clues therein for the same 

The argument of my paper, On Developing New Typologies, and Reviving Old 
Ones, is that Sapir succeeded all too well, all too fast; Greenberg's quantified 
revision of Sapir's whole language typology can be predicted to obtain a similar 
speedy success. Whether few, or quite a few, criteria, are used, whether based 
on counting instances in a text or based on the known inventory of the morphol- 
ogy, it is certainly possible to classify languages irrespective of their genetic 
relationships. In fact, a single worker could be given the task of classifying all the 
languages of the world as whole systems; and having accomplished this, he 
would be hard pressed to find a next related task. 


In a recent issue of the American Anthropologist, most papers were concerned 
with cultural typologies of one sort or another. Though references to the matrix 
of the special typologies to the whole culture were commonly made, no 
one except Evon Vogt succeeded in identifying, with sureness, the whole culture 

Subsystem Typology in Linguistics 203 

or whole system to which he referred; this I have indicated in some detail in 
Subsystems Within Systems in Cultural and Linguistic Typologies. Perhaps the 
reason why whole-system typology preceded subsystem typology in linguistics is 
because any one whole language is distinguishable from any other as a result 
of the language barrier, the place where communication or mutual intelligibility 
fails; analogous boundaries within a language, as between phonemes and 
morphemes, are obvious neither to the speakers of a language nor to non- 
linguists, but only to the analysts of the language. 

Subsystem typology often treats the phonemes alone, and not the morphol- 
ogies of the languages concerned. So, for example, in the Preliminaries to Speech 
Analysis by Roman Jakobson and others; since no direct attempt to classify 
languages is made here, one is at first apt not to see that this encompasses a 
genuine instance of subsystem typology, as John Yegerlehner and I have shown 
it to be. It is clear from this example that while all whole-language typologies 
are classificatory, some subsystem typologies are not. 

In his Manual of Phonology, Hockett seeks to by-pass arbitrariness, which 
haunts all work in typology as opposed to historically oriented research by 
including in any one of his subsystems only what is strictly symmetrical. The 
result is that he obtains much less than all the phonology in his numerous sub- 
systems, less, even, than all vocalic phonemes and less than all consonants 
for consonants, in fact, only that selection which makes for symmetrical contrast, 
with the remaining consonants set aside as left-overs. 

I have devised a procedure somewhat similar to Hockett's, but one in which 
matched linear phonemes are abstracted from additive components in order to arrive 
at reasonably few and reasonably non-arbitrary but highly comparable sets 
of consonant types and vowel types. One interest in this and other subsystem 
typologies is that we arrive little by little, but nevertheless surely at linguistic 
perimeters: in respect to the subtypes treated; also in respect to a linguistic 
area or a continental area ; and finally in respect to all languages of the world. 
It can already be shown that, so far as consonant and vowel types go, the peri- 
meters are relatively narrow in South America, relatively far apart in North 



Two recent papers, one by Lounsbury and the other by Goodenough, 
extrapolate operations commonly used in linguistic analysis to the analysis of 
one lexical domain: kinship terms. The rest of the literature, from Morgan and 
Rivers to the modern British social anthropologists, pays less attention to the 
terms themselves, but characteristically treats the kinship system as a closed 
corpus one of several corpora, to be sure, but the one most clearly isolable of 
all the domains concerned with interpersonal relations. 

Some attempts have been made to isolate and treat separately other domains 
concerned with other fields than social organization perhaps most successfully 
in ways of counting or quantifying, as the use of single morphemes from one to 
five, or one to ten or one to twenty, with morpheme combinations for other 
numbers in the given subsystem. Examples of less spectacular success are the 
papers which appeared in a long run of the journal, Worter und Sachen. And 
general discussions on meaning as derived from domains are also common; 
perhaps the best of all is by Hallig and Wartburg. The difficulty is always that 

204 Men and Cultures 

one set of words for one domain one word family intersects with another; 
hence the domains set up are never strictly isolable, one from the other. 

Or almost never: the one great exception is the kinship system which is at 
least treated as though it were isolable from other domains. If kinship terms 
were assembled from a bilingual gloss, they might appear no more isolable than 
other domains. But they are, in fact, not so assembled; rather they are brought 
together through highly specialized eliciting, first practiced systematically by 
Rivers, and often called the genealogical method. In order to make other 
domains equally isolable, specialized eliciting will have to be devised. Any one 
of the three eliciting methods currently used by linguists will obtain data 
for the analysis of grammatical structure of any language, with varying degrees 
of reliability and speed. A fourth method of eliciting, listed below, is incident- 
ally relevant to structural analysis, but primarily useful for discovering 

(1) The Bloomfieldian method of eliciting is restricted to texts. Leonard 
Bloomfield's publications reflect his practice: Tagalog Texts, with notes on 
the structure of Tagalog obtained from the texts ; texts from Algonquian lan- 
guages, with the linguistic structure from these languages still in manuscript. 
Bloomfield spent much time learning to speak Menomini because he would not 
permit himself to ask questions on structure; he preferred being corrected, when 
he made an error as a child-like speaker of Menomini, to asking a direct question 
on how do you say so-and-so to a bilingual Menomini for fear of obtaining a 
false analogy. During the three summers Bloomfield and I recorded Ojibwa 
texts together at Linguistic Institutes, he never once asked a "how do you say" 
question, but once his curiosity overcame his scruples, and he asked me to elicit 
directly from the informant. 

(2) A method which enables one to obtain information on linguistic structure 
without benefit of extensive prior texts is here called Whorfian eliciting because 
Whorf seems to have been the first scholar in the tradition of anthropological 
linguistics to elicit in this way when he had occasional hours of work with a 
Hopi informant in New York. The small manuscript dictionary left behind by 
Whorf reflects his eliciting: the informant must have given the range of meanings 
of Hopi words, with Whorf subsequently restating the meanings in common 
denominator terms. 

(3) Boasian eliciting, still followed by most American anthropologists today, 
proceeds by obtaining texts first, and by obtaining morphological variety or 
ancillary forms while translating the texts. Almost everyone becomes aware 
that it takes much longer to elicit the ancillary forms than to record the texts 
that he already has, in the early part of a field session, vastly more texts than 
he can possibly translate in the rest of his field session, if he is to elicit grammatical 
information as he goes along. At the end of his field session, the bulk of elicited 
material is apt to loom larger in size and interest than the bulk of his texts ; 
and this is reflected in the fact that grammars are traditionally published first, 
before texts. 

(4) The text-domain method of eliciting begins, as does Boasian eliciting (3), 
with texts, but it ends with texts bulking larger than the elicited material. This 
eliciting maximizes the use of texts in contrast to Whorfian eliciting (2), which 
minimizes the value of texts. The most favorable conditions for practicing 
text-domain eliciting are two: the use of several different informants, and, as in 
Bloomfieldian eliciting (1), the exercise of some partial speaking-knowledge of 
the language, even though all informants used are bilingual. In translating 

Subsystem Typology in Linguistics 205 

texts, then, one asks for ancillary utterances related primarily to the domain 
which the text treats, rather than to the grammatical structure. Some examples 
from field work with Hopi will illustrate this text-domain eliciting. 

If a text included the name of a tree, the questions asked were the names of 
the root of the tree, its bark, and its leaves. It turns out that Hopi has two very 
similar morphemes, one a generic term for root, another for medicine, and a third 
but entirely dissimilar morpheme for dry root of the cottonwood tree from which 
Kachina dolls are carved. Likewise, Hopi has one generic term for bark of 
tree, peeling of apple or onion, pod of pea, but a dissimilar morpheme for bark 
of juniper trees. A single morpheme for color means green when compounded 
with leaf, but blue when compounded with corn. 

Materials obtained from such eliciting make it possible to typologize: one 
type would include dissimilar morphemes which have overlap in meanings, as 
in the examples above and in the two entirely different Hopi morphemes for 
water, where again one morpheme is the generic term while the other is 
restricted to drinkable liquids; for example, "breast water" equals milk, and 
"urine water" equals beer. 

Another type would include single morphemes which would be classified in 
two different domains because there is a wide gap or discontinuous referent 
as the Hopi morpheme whose two referents are: 1, sun in the heavens, and 
2, clock on the wall. In a given text, one or another of two discontinuous refer- 
ents is possible in translation ; this in contrast to the continuous referent range, 
where any referent in the continuum is possible for translation in a particular 
text. Thus, there is a single Hopi morpheme with a continuous range from 
thinking to worrying. 

Another type, for example, can be established when the privileges and 
restrictions on morphological selection or combination are known. Thus, in the 
domain of the corn complex, some morphemes for corn become edible under 
the name of "piki" which has a wide continuous range of meaning or applica- 
tion to cooked foods of various textures and shapes ; other morphemes for corn 
become edible under the name of "k w ivi" which has an even wider application 
to cooked foods. But the type of food classified as "piki" always includes one or 
another kind of corn as a constituent, while food classified as "k w ivi" may or 
may not include corn. Here again a type distinction is found for morphemes 
which remain in one domain, namely the corn complex, and those which inter- 
sect two or more domains. 

By any kind of eliciting one can find obligatory categories. However, when a 
choice is possible between two or more channels of expression, the current 
methods of eliciting serve at most to find the alternative possibilities, without 
distinguishing between situations in which either channel may be followed from 
those in which one or the other are followed though either channel might be 
intelligible for any situation. This is the problem of selection. Text-domain 
eliciting enables one to work directly on this important but elusive problem. 
Thus, there is in Hopi an overlap in referents for two dissimilar terms, one of 
which is "qaci" life, which hardly ever appears in conversational texts. Upon 
finding this rare term in one text, I proposed various situations in which I 
supposed it would be relevant to talk about life, and found that the morpheme 
which I had previously translated as heart, without appreciating its wide con- 
tinuous range, was also the common morpheme for speaking of life in 
biological rather than in religous situations; thus, the Hopi say that a cat has 
nine hearts. 

206 Men and Cultures 

Text-domain eliciting not only leads us into the area of selection alternate 
channels of expression with overlap referents among which the Hopi speaker 
makes choices as he talks but it helps a beginning learner to speak a sensible 
kind of Hopi, that is, to make choices between alternate possibilities of the same 
general type as those made by the Hopi speakers themselves. 

Indiana University, 
Bloomington, Indiana. 




Gene Weltfish 

It is one of the major tasks of the anthropologist to define the primary unit of 
his science the ethnic unit. Sociologists base their science on the primacy of 
the biological family, psychologists on the concept of the individual, but the 
anthropologist generally, by common consent, has left the question largely 
unresolved. Tribe, nation, social group, community, culture while unsatis- 
factory, have been applied provisionally for what we really mean, viz. the ethnic 

John R. S wanton 2 counters the familiar question, "How many Indian tribes 
are there?" with another, "What makes a tribe a tribe?" He says: 

"The words 'tribe 5 , 'band', and 'division', will be employed indiscri- 
minately in what follows. One of the lessons resulting from any attempt to 
classify or 'give the number of Indian tribes is the fact that there is no 
specific definition of such names that will apply in all cases. Sometimes a 
tribe is a tribe because of its political unity, sometimes because of its dialectic 
unity, sometimes from a mere 'consciousness of kind' on the part of the 
individuals composing it. A ' band ' is supposedly a subdivision of a ' tribe ' 
but, the definition of a tribe being such as it is, it is frequently impossible to 
say whether we have a tribe or a band. The word 'division' assumes of course, 
a larger unit but there are divisions which could be tribes from one point of 
view and divisions or bands from others. Still the application of the name 
to any group of Indians whether by themselves or by outsiders means that they share 
something in common, whether that something be a common territory, a common 
language, culture, or a common government. The common territory, language, 
culture or government may, however, extend beyond the tribe. A common territory 
may be shared by two or more tribes, as for instance in the case of the 
Hidatsa, Mandan, and Arikara Indians of North Dakota. A common language 
is shared by tribes bitterly hostile to each other, such as the Dakota and 
Assiniboin, and the Ghoctaw and Ghickasaw. A common culture is shared 
by numbers of Indians in California who differ in language, and a common 
government is shared by the five tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy and the 
several tribes of the Creek Confederation." 

Swanton then concludes that: 

"For all that, each tribal name means something and a knowledge of them, 
or at least a directory to them, with some intimation as to their geographical 
and linguistic position as basal ordinarily to their cultural position, is of distinct 
service to ethnologists and ethnographers." (Italics mine.) 

This places the question squarely before the ethnologist: What are these 
Chukchee, Bushmen, Maya, Fijians, Samoans that we so cavalierly discuss? 

208 Men and Cultures 

The fact that they have been named by someone at some time can hardly be 
taken to constitute a sufficient basis for a scientific ethnic classification. What 
are group ethnic differences? 

Even from the earliest human cultures we can trace, clearly distinguishable 
group differences in custom can be recognized. The stone implement maker of 
Europe and Africa in the Paleolithic period characteristically sought to produce 
a symmetrical pointed tool, while in southeastern Asia the earliest tool-producing 
peoples tended to make choppers with a linear edge, while in their pointed tools 
they seldom aimed at symmetry. 3 In North America eight to ten thousand years 
ago there were groups (Folsom) whose main technical aim was evidently to 
produce projectile points of chipped stone, while others (Cochise) produced 
grinders and millstones. 4 Shall we call these broad technological trends cultures, 
communities or what, and what constitutes our basis of classification? 5 

The vagueness of the ethnologist on the question of his primary unit is now 
reflecting itself in archaeology where an effort is being made to link up the data 
with functioning lifeways. V. G. Childe, quoted in Phillips and Willey's 6 recent 
summary of American archaeology, observed that in distinguishing archeological 
culture "the arbitrary peculiarities of implements, weapons, ornaments, houses, 
burial rites and ritual objects are assumed to be the concrete expressions of the 
common social traditions that bind together a people" (Italics mine.) I. Rouse 7 
compares the basic archeological units (components and phases or foci) to 
societies, communities or tribes. 

In point of fact the ethnologist is equally arbitrary to Childe 's archaeologist 
in the peculiarities he selects out of the whole gamut of social behavior to charac- 
terize the group he is studying. He often lays such stress on the peculiarities, at 
the expense of the " common human," that he ends up with a rather grotesque 
picture of the life of a people. 

The analogy between archaeologist and ethnologist is even more pointed 
when we realize that the job of the ethnologist today is " social archaeology" 
since the life he seeks to study is that which was functioning before the spread of 
modern European commercial and colonial civilizations. Taking A.D. 1400 as 
a rough base line, the ethnologist in attempting this cultural reconstruction 
finds himself faced with a time depth varying from 50 to 500 years. From the 
present practices among ethnographic peoples, he attempts to separate out what 
elements are "due to white contact" and what are "aboriginal elements" and 
also at what time and in what order the "white" elements were added to the 
original cultural complex. 

How do we delimit the units of aboriginal culture with which we work and, 
in Childe J s terms, how do we derive the constants of social tradition "that bind 
together the life of a people"? More concretely, how do we delimit spatially, 
the unit "people" which we are assuming to be bound together by certain con- 
stants of social tradition, and what is the time span of such a unit? 

Ethnologists have commonly employed a combination of principles as a 
basis for the spatial delimitation of a people to be studied. These classificatory 
principles can be broadly categorized into two classes: 

I. Types of physiographic features combined with the technological and 
social arrangements for their exploitation (known as environmental or 
economic interpretations depending upon the emphasis of the classifi- 

II. Types of social, political and/or religious controls. 

The Ethnic Dimension of Human History: Pattern or Patterns of Culture? 209 

Actually, though this may seem contradictory, the second category offers us 
a more consistent basis for spatial delimitation than the physiographic features or 
their exploitation, as a people is bound together, whether for the exploitation of 
physical resources or for dealing with each other, by social controls. Their 
common interests can find effective expression only through such social controls. 

For some time the concept "area" has had considerable currency e.g., 
culture area, natural area, and, more recently, area study growing out of 
combined operations in the war and post-war period. 

Wendell C. Bennett in his Area Archeology* offering area studies as one way of 
uniting archaeology and ethnology as well as other social sciences, makes it clear 
that his concept "area" is not basically physiographic: 

"The physical and natural sciences contribute basic information about 
the region, but these sciences are not truly area concerned. Instead it is the 
geographer, historian, anthropologist, sociologist, political humanist who 
must pool their knowledge for sound regional analysis." (p. 8) ... "Although 
natural area is an old geographic concept, the area approach stresses the 
suitability for human occupation." (pp. 8, 9.) 

Bennett further makes the following rather significant comments about other 
classificatory concepts that he feels should be subsumed under his primary unit, 
the area: 

"Other subdivisions of the area which may or may not correspond to the 
natural areas, are based on multiple factors such as geography, economics, 
politics, ethnic composition [by which I think he means physical type], and 
culture. The importance for area analysis lies in the relative equality or 
inequality of these subdivisions, and in particular in their interrelationships. 
Attitudes of conflict between subdivisions are called regionalism, whether 
occasioned by history, by isolation, by ethnic and cultural differences, or by 
economic competition and are important in measuring the unity or disunity 
of the area. Nationalism is in part the opposite of regionalism, insofar as it reflects 
harmony between subdivisions." (p. 9.) 

It would appear from this observation that the political or social sanction of 
nationalism is more definitive as a principle of spatial delimitation of an ethnic 
unit than the physiographic area per se, or any of the other classificatory prin- 
ciples Bennett mentions. 
On page 10 he states that 

"Area analysis is most applicable to archaeological regions of complex cultures 
or civilizations." 

As an example of area archaeology, Bennett selects the Central Andes. However, 
we find that as Bennett carries his analysis back in time, his original area 
shrinks in terms of social and political rather than area considerations: 

"Today, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia are grouped together as one of the South 
American culture areas. Similar unity existed during most of the Spanish 
Colonial period, and can be traced back to the time of the Inca political 
empire. However, for longer time analysis, the limitation of the Central 
Andes essentially to Peru is justified on the grounds that wider cultural 
unity to include Ecuador and Bolivia is not verified for the pre-Inca periods." 

( P . 11.) 

210 Men and Cultures 

And finally he observes that with the imposition of western civilization: 

" Commercial crops, mechanical transportation, and new power techniques 
profoundly affected the region as a whole. However, for the pre-Conquest 
periods, the changes which occur throughout the time period covered appear 
to be due to shifts in social, political, and religious organization rather than 
to major shifts in technology." (p. 12.) 

However, despite the great importance of major shifts in technology following 
the Conquest, in this case there was no gradual infiltration of technological 
devices, but a military and social conquest upon which the technological 
shifts followed. 

Thus while it must be conceded that natural features have, in one of Boas' 
old usages, a limiting effect as a principle for the delimitation of an ethnic 
unit, the area concept even in Bennett's broad terms, is less effective as a basis 
for ethnic classification than the socio-religious-political type in a given 

However, while dominant social controls are valuable in delimiting ethnic 
units, we must remember that historically every group is a composite as the 
general trend of world history, even in its earliest stages, has been from smaller 
to larger social groupings, each of which has come about by an alliance of at 
least more than one family. The identity of the several groups that have been 
combined does not entirely disappear. Dominant social controls do achieve a 
certain community of practice and attitude in the group within which they 
operate, but they never achieve a total gleichschaltung. One of the most deliberate 
attempts in the past to unify a large body of people under a national authority 
was that of the classic Inca of Peru. Wendell C. Bennett 9 describes this process in 
the following manner: 

"The Central Andes became politically united under the dominant Inca of 
the central highlands. Although the subdivisions were still differentiated, the 
factors for national unity were emphasized. Each subarea was linked to the 
whole through a planned system of roads. The Quechua language was 
imposed and religious organization was of national proportion, and efforts 
were made to create cultural uniformity as well. Inter-regional conflicts were 
deliberately suppressed by force, and by planned shifting of the popula- 
tion.' 1 

The factors for cleavage, however, were not obliterated. They were simply 
transferred from interregional to class differences, between the local culture 
and the superimposed, the urban versus the rural. 

Thus we are never justified in giving dominant social controls such primacy 
in our studies of human cultures that the existence and operation of genuine 
contradictions and major differences in custom within such socially controlled 
groups are undervalued or disregarded. The pattern of a culture must also 
include its dissident patterns. 

I shall take as an ethnographic example of culture-historical reconstruction, 
through the study of local variations within a social group, Laura Thompson's 
work on the southern Lau islands, easternmost of the Fiji group. At the time the 
study was made in 1933-4, these islands had a minimum of outside population, 
e.g. no Indians or white settler and only a few Chinese trade stores, offering a 
relatively rare example in modern times of a native isolate. 

The Ethnic Dimension of Human History: Pattern or Patterns of Culture? 211 

Dr. Thompson's definition of Lauan culture 10 constitutes a brief resum6 of 
the main culture-historical events: 

". . . the simple culture of the aborigines, the highly organized culture of the 
immigrants from Viti Levu on the west and the influence from Tonga on the 
east met in the Lau islands. Conditioned by the natural setting of the island 
world, these diverse strains fused into a unique form. The combination of 
social organization, economic life, technology and outlook on life, found in 
Lau at the beginning of contact with western civilization, we call native 
Lauan culture. This native culture has been altered considerably in recent 
times by the influence of western civilization." 

However, if we look into her analysis of Lauan culture in detail, the fusion has 
been far from complete on all levels. I shall here attempt to summarize from her 
work, the culture-historical events, 11 with apologies for certain liberties I may 
have taken in omitting some of her basic documentation. 

The Lau islands are situated on the eastern rim of the continental submarine 
shelf of southeast Asia. Beyond them to the east are the oceanic Polynesian 
islands, with Tonga, the nearest group, 400 miles away. 

The people of the first stage of Lau history had a 

"simple, indigenous Melanesian type of culture " (p. 196). They lived in 
small hamlets, had a religion based on magic and local totemic spirits pro- 
pitiated by medicine men. Political power was in the hands of old men and 
all males were initiated into the men's society with rites carried on in a sacred 
rectangular enclosure, the rituals consisting of offerings to ancestral spirits, 
circumcision, ordeals, dancing, license, and the distribution of wealth. 

They were collectors of roots, fruit, and leaves in the jungle and probably 
also cultivated gardens on the fertile volcanic islands, but were prevented 
from gardening to any extent on the limestone islands because they lacked 
food plants which would grow well in shallow soil. 

By contrast with the people in the later culture stages, they were apparently 
a relatively peaceful group and did not make a practice of cannibalism. 

How long these people inhabited the Lau islands is not known, and of course, 
neither is the specific version of the culture in this locality. But at the time of the 
report in the 1930's people with this type of culture were living in the Fijian 
islands 12 and traces were found throughout the Lau islands. The degree of its 
survival is rather remarkable in view of the following history, which includes 
at least 250 years of Polynesian-Tongan domination. 

According to native tradition, about ten generations ago, which should be in 
the neighborhood of 1650, two large double war canoes, led by a war hero and 
his brothers, sailed eastward from the largest and westernmost of the Fijian 
islands, Viti Levu. They landed in several islands, one of which was Kambara 
in the Lau group whence they spread and established themselves as the dominant 
social group. They married women of the local group and their descendants 
became the upper or chief caste, while the rest of the inhabitants survive today 
as the "land" people, each group maintaining separate patriiineal sibs. Cross 
cousin marriages in a classificatory sense are the rule. Nevertheless the people 
think they can recognize the aristocratic breed by certain mannerisms. 

Most villages today comprise some of both sibs, one or the other predomina- 
ting in the proportion of 80-20 per cent; some villages are composed entirely 
of land people, but none are exclusively of the chief class. Most of the land 

212 Men and Cultures 

including the fertile patches is owned by the land sibs, who take more interest 
in their gardens, while the immigrants are better sailors and expert spear 
fishers. Any land belonging to the chief class came to them as dowry when they 
married the local women. 

The chiefs stimulated craftsmanship by attaching specialists to their courts, 
especially carpenters and fishermen, and extracted heavy tribute of trade articles 
from their subjects. Lau became known throughout Tonga and Fiji for her 
craftsmanship. On the debit side, bitter rivalries developed among chiefs of the 
different islands, violent wars resulted, fortifications that can still be seen were 
built high up on the cliffs, and according to missionaries and travelers, canni- 
balism, infanticide and strangling of widows at the death of a chief were preva- 
lent customs. Petty chiefdoms developed as small islands became dependent 
upon the larger. From 1643 when Tasman discovered the islands, early voyagers 
reported these practices. 

When the first historical records on Lau appear at the end of the 1 700's, 
Tongan sailors had been visiting the group for two centuries seeking raw 
materials at three different locations in Fiji fragrant sandalwood on the 
westernmost point of Vanua Levu, brilliant red paraquet feathers on another 
island for trade with the Samoans, and hardwood found only in southern Lau 
for their canoes and other fine wooden products. The Chinese traders dis- 
covered the source of the sandalwood in the early 1 800's and soon exhausted 
it completely. 

When the first European missionaries to Fiji landed at Lakemba in 1835 the 
Tongans had gained a great deal of political power. As Tongans in Lau were 
converted, they began to challenge the power of the high chief who complained 
about them to the Tongan king George. He sent his warrior nephew, Maafu, 
with a fleet of war canoes, manned by Tongans and armed with cannon, to 
rule the Tongan colony in Lau. By political strategy Maafu extended his power 
westward through the islands, including most of Vanua Levu. He secured the 
backing of the missionaries by promising them converts and credit from the 
traders by promises of valuable trade items from vanquished enemies. 

Meanwhile on the island of Mbau off the east coast of Viti Levu, a petty chief 
had gained power over all his rival groups with the help of firearms and western 
military tactics. European trade interests were threatened by constant bloody 
raids and wholesale cannibalism in Fiji, and the chief of Mbau was held respon- 
sible by the United States government for damage to life and property of 
American citizens to the sum of $45,000. Threatened by Tongan power on the 
east and European and United States interests, the chief of Mbau negotiated 
with the British consul in Fiji. Annexation followed in 1874, Fiji becoming a 
British Crown Colony. 

The power of Maafu, the Tongan chief, was ended when foreign trade 
interests forced him to make peace with the Fijian chiefs in order to protect the 
bche-de-mer trade on the north Vanua Levu coast. Tongan political power 
in Fiji thus came to an end after more than 200 years. Many cultural features, 
of course, survived. In language, technology, economics and psychological 
temperament, Tongan and Melanesian features are combined. 13 

In the past, the political power of the dominant Polynesian chiefs was em- 
bodied in an official religion. War heroes were deified and placed in a hierarchy 
according to the deeds they performed while alive, and their degree of relation- 
ship to the original warrior-leader. These ancestor gods were propitiated for 
power or mana in order to enhance social prestige, the highest social value of the 

The Ethnic Dimension of Human History: Pattern or Patterns of Culture? 213 

invading Polynesians. Hereditary priests carried on the rites in small oval or 
rectangular temples with high thatched gabled roofs built on round or oval 
mounds. By contrast the older Melanesian religious practices were carried on in 
the open among the populace by individual non-hereditary medicine men. 

Direct European influence was first brought in by missionaries, then political 
officers and traders. The ancestor gods were demoted to the status of devils, but 
naturally they continued to be feared. Changes appeared first in the religious, 
then in the social, and finally in the economic life. 

During World War I the copra trade ended abruptly. People had been 
neglecting fishing, gardening, canoe building, and inter-island trade in favor 
of work on sib coconut plantations. They returned to the older economic pur- 
suits. 14 In 1933-34 the natives imported only a few types of goods, e.g., axes, 
bush knives, cooking pots, trade cloth. 

In religion, the outer forms of Christianity were incorporated into the native 
ceremonial life, but the inner conflict caused by weakening of the ancestor 
cult had not yet been satisfactorily solved. This conflict tended to "sap vitality 
from the culture. " According to Thompson's estimate at that time (1933-34) it 
was to a great extent responsible for the restlessness of the natives, in spite of 
their growing economic and social stability. 

What are the lessons to be learned from this case of a Polynesian-dominated 
Melanesian people, later conquered by the Europeans? First, that after ten 
generations of domination the Polynesians did not succeed in obliterating the 
older stratum of culture despite the fact that it was apparently simpler and 
politically less highly organized, and, second, that after a century of European 
dominance, with all of Britain's military might and the contrasting pattern of 
European culture, they have not succeeded in erasing either of the older cultural 
layers. Both older patterns survive, dispersed throughout the population as 
varying practices in different localities and among different individuals. 

Further, that a considerable degree of political and social domination can be 
established by a relatively small group of men who marry native women, 
leaving the actual physical composition of the population largely unaltered, 
despite the fiction carried by the people themselves; and finally, that religious 
and political sanctions are likely to assort themselves within the consciousness 
of individuals and to survive as parallel systems of anxiety. 

Today in times of trouble the commoners offer kava and food at the base of 
their ancestral totemic tree ; while they formerly participated in the outer form 
of the ancestor cult they never accepted its inner content. The ancestral gods of 
the upper class were incarnated in a species of tree, a species offish, and a species 
of bird. It was tabu for clan members to eat or harm them and "this tabu is 
upheld by some Lauans today" (Thompson, p. 110). The apparent success 
of the Christian mission has failed to obliterate the ancestral gods entirely: 
"... a few courageous individuals still propitiate their ancestors secretly in 
the bush." (p. 113.) Buell Quain 15 in his detailed psychological study of a 
Fijian village in the large western island of Vanua Levu states that: 

"The dissonance between theoretical hierarchy . . . and the random and 
confused determinants of status has a historical background. The system of 
chiefly titles and hereditary status is Tongan and the prestige of Tongan 
invaders spread and buttressed it in this region of Fiji. . . . The whole complex 
has been accepted without complete obliteration of an earlier ethos. For each 
region of Nakoroka there are two sets of ancestors. The first are "owners" 

214 Men and Cultures 

of the land, sometimes identified with animals; the second are chiefly 
immigrants who built an empire at Flight-of-the-Chiefs and then dispersed 
to found chiefly houses throughout the province. 

"Tongan influence has not been so strong in all parts of Fiji as it has been 

"This structural flaw in the ethos of Nakoroka works itself out in the life 
and character of all men in the village. They are uncertain of themselves; 
they are touchy about their status. " 

Tongan influence was not equally strong in every locality. Dorothy Spencer 16 
reports that in Tholo West, Viti Levu, chiefly titles imply little authority. There 
is not the hierarchal subordination that there is in Quain's village of Nakoroka. 

"Dr. Spencer describes the noisy quarreling in which people at Nasanthoko 
are constantly engaged; there is not the careful modulation of voice and 
gesture that is so marked at Nakoroka. Nor is Nakoroka's constant phrase 
via-via-levu, 'acting out of place,' 'acting beyond one* so common Nasanthoko 

Laura Thompson remarks that in the Lau islands : 

"Even today the land people are less restricted in daily life by formalities 
than the chief group. They seem to be more modest and liberal and to have 
more sense of humor. . . ." 17 

Thus we see that as a result of the survival of past social sanctions in his 
psychology, the Fijian today is the victim of parallel systems of anxiety. He also 
has parallel technological methods of manufacturing bark cloth. These, how- 
ever, do not cause him similar difficulties but, contrariwise, offer him added 
cultural resources. At a Lauan wedding the groom was heavily swathed in 
Tongan tapa cloth which he removed and placed at the bride's door revealing 
his body garments made in the old Fijian method. The bride was similarly 
outfitted. 18 

In his study of the psycho-physical medical problems of the Ba-Thonga 
people of southeast Africa, Dr. A. Liz Ferreira 19 has noted a similar accumula- 
tion of anxiety patterns. The difficulty of repressing or removing these sanctions 
can only be appreciated if we realize that the penalties for their violation were 
most commonly threat of disease or supernaturally-caused death. 

Closer to the American scene we have the combined ethos of a Hopi Indian 
woman as described by Dorothy Eggan 20 in the content of dreams: 

"... the strength of tribal attitudes toward cooperative obligations toward 
the tribe, frequently masked by surface changes, is well illustrated in dreams, 
as is also the superficiality of Hopi conversion to Christianity. A survey may 
show that 30 per cent of a village is Christian in that they attend a missionary 
church; but their dreams indicate that the majority of the old Hopi who list 
themselves as Christian have as much respect for Masau'u, and many other 
Hopi deities, as they ever had. 

"These people sometimes come back from college to bow to the will of the 
old grandmother who is the head of their clan. One such woman, an excellent 
pianist, who lists among her possessions a piano, a refrigerator, and a washing 
machine, notes in an interview that she belongs to a church in Los Angeles 
where she lives most of the year. But may we judge accurately by these things 
the degree of this woman's acculturation when she says in association to a 

The Ethnic Dimension of Human History: Pattern or Patterns of Culture? 215 

dream, 'Oh, I'm going to leave my husband . . . because I have my girl 
baby at last and don't need him any more. They (the clan) have given me 
my fields and my brothers will plant for me'." 

Felix Keesing, 21 remarks: 

"Among the vast majority of native Christians in the tropical islands, bodily 
states are still considered a reflection of supernatural forces of good and evil, 
and treatment of sickness is approached accordingly." (p. 207.) 
"The investigator is likely to find, indeed, not only apparently sophisticated 
natives but also many persons of mixed descent and even whites subscribing 
to some elements of native belief and magical practice." (p. 228.) 

Few, or possibly no individuals in modern America subscribe fully in their 
intimate psychology to a completely scientific point of view. We are likely to 
be carrying a considerable baggage of surviving social sanctions, viz., 

(1) archaic magical superstitions 

(2) astrological notions 

(3) religious idealism 

(4) business or commercial sanctions 

(5) the outlook of experimental science. 

The individual may bring to bear any one of these disparate systems to deter- 
mine his attitudes or behavior in a given instance. One of our basic problems 
today is whether we can form an effective composite of the last three systems and 
eliminate the earlier contradictory ones. If we are to achieve a deliberate control 
of our own psychological and social processes, the development of a procedure 
of "historical unravelling" is essential. 

A single pattern of culture is an unjustifiable fiction with relation to any 
group an administrative hope, perhaps, but not a social reality. 

From these brief observations it is evident that our history is always with us 22 
and unless we unravel our past, step by step, and look at each stage out of its 
present context, we cannot understand our lives today. The means for this study 
are given in a detailed consideration of variations in the present, coupled with a 
study of past records. 

With regard to the cultures of Europe, an extremely interesting study is that 
of Hugh Hencken, "Indo-European Languages and Archeology." 23 Hencken 
has furnished evidence through a correlation of archaeological and philological 
materials for a number of composite cultures that apparently preceded the now 
dominant Indo-European. I want to mention especially his analysis of Ligurian 
as Indo-European-modified-Celtic (pp. 33-34) and the history of the cuneiform 
Hittites who between 2000 and 1200 B.C. apparently carried an Indo-European 
social structure and language into central Asia Minor and there combined 
these features with an oriental material culture and religion (pp. 39-42). Boas' 
general principle of the independence of race, language and culture in the stream 
of history is receiving added support from this material. No one of these factors 
can alone define the ethnic unit. 

I would conclude that: 

(1) A dominant system of social controls best serves to delimit an ethnic 
entity at any time, 

(2) that nevertheless, the identification of current ethnic groups cannot be 
made by a characterization of the dominant system of social controls 

216 Men and Cultures 

(3) since within the orbit of any dominant system of social controls there are 
a number of surviving elements of previous ethnic entities which may 
maintain their identity to a considerable degree; 

(4) and that the functional significance of these surviving entities can be 
evaluated only after they have been isolated by a process of historical 

There was no time in human history when an ethnic group did not include a 
number of ethnic patterns from previous ethnic groupings. Whatever system of 
priorities one may use in evaluating the various groupings within a social 
entity, an attempt to attribute an all-embracing character to the pattern of the 
dominant social mode, to the exclusion of the divergent social elements which it 
must include, will materially hinder the growth of a scientific ethnology. To 
accomplish an adequate ethnic analysis of human cultures, a combination of all 
the techniques of historical reconstruction ethnological, archaeological and 
linguistic 24 must be utilized. Only by the refinement of our techniques for 
deriving the ethnic unit in its many socio-historical contexts will we develop a 
solid base for the general science of anthropology. 

New York, New York. 


1. See also G. Weltfish, 1956. 

2. Swanton, 1952, p. 613. 

3. Movius, 1949, p. 408. 

4. Marrin, Quimby, and Collier, 1947. 

5. Possibly these should be called archaeological "technicultures," 

6. Phillips and Willey, 1953, p. 617. 

7. Rouse, 1955, p. 718. 

8. Bennett, 1953, p. 7. 

9. Op. cit., p. 14. 

10. Thompson, 1940, p. 26. 

11. Thompson, 1938. 

12. Spencer; this account is based on field work in interior Viti Levu, 1935-36; 
Thompson's report is of 1933-34. 

13. See Thompson, 1940; language, pp. 13-14; barkcloth technologies, pp. 56-57. 

14. Thompson, 1938 ; on page 196 the return of the older economic pattern is described 
in the following terms: "Neglected gardens were cleared and replanted, native crafts 
began to flourish, trade between the islands revived and the whole daily routine resembled 
olden days. The hereditary master-fisherman regained control of the communal fishing. 
The first fruits of the harvest were again presented now to the old chief and the native 
colonial official jointly, while in the earlier periods they had been offered to the gods and 
in the middle period to the chiefs. Large single sailing canoes with improved rigging due 
to western influence have replaced the cutter, but the double canoe has disappeared. 
Wooden bowls, but with less skill than in olden days, are made in large quantities. 
Tapa and mat making industries are again flourishing and native rope, fish lines and 
fish nets are replacing imported articles. See also Thompson, 1940, and Keesing, 1945, 
p. 135 on a parallel instance in Samoa in 1934. 

15. Quain, 1948, pp. 433-434. This is a report of field work in 1935-36. 

16. Spencer, 1941. 

17. Thompson, 1938, footnote 40, p. 186. 

18. Thompson, 1940, pp. 55-56. 

19. de Liz Ferreira, Mss. 

20. Eggan, 1952, p. 479. See also pp. 475-476 for the significance of an old woman's 

The Ethnic Dimension of Human History: Pattern or Patterns of Culture? 217 

21. Keesing, revised edition, 1945. 

22. See Weltfish, 1956. 

23. Hencken, 1955. 

24. I do not mean to slight the possibilities for historical reconstruction through the 
use of physical-anthropological techniques. But they have been so heavily slanted on the 
medical and physical-genetic side that their interpretation for deriving ethnic units 
requires more intermediate steps than the cultural disciplines. See the highly significant 
article of Frederick B. Thieme, "The Population as a Unit of Study." "From what is 
known about the structure of human societies, it is hard to imagine any human popula- 
tion that practices random mating, particularly if short intervals of time are considered. 
We know that the question of * Who mates with whom ? ' will be answered largely in 
cultural terms. . . , However, we need to know the answer to this question in terms of the 
genetic structure. 

"If the interaction of these various factors is kept as the goal, the arrival at a solution 
will depend upon the degree in which they are related to the basic unit of study, namely 
the population, or the breeding unit. . . . Not only do we need to know the frequency 
of characteristics in population, but we must need to know about the formation of isolates 
(sub-groups) within larger populations. . . . 

"In terms of the mating system of a single social unit, endogamy or exogamy are 
crucial. . . . How big a social complex is involved for a particular area, before the single 
exogamous patterns combine to give area endogamy? Closely related to this question 
is the important problem of assessing the reality of the mating structure in contrast to 
the expressed ideal " (p. 506.) 

"In a complex society, the problem of defining the endogamous unit is most difficult. 
Religious, caste, racial, economic, educational and class groups, as some important 
examples, may, more or less, constitute breeding isolates. 

"As a process of evolution is seen only in reproducing populations, the characteristics 
of fertility are important. Which segment of a population enjoys high effective rates of 
fertility determines future gene frequencies if the genes are not evenly distributed in 
the population. Related to this are group attitudes toward the proper size of family, 
economic status, individual and group attitudes concerning participation in the society, 
and a host of other culturally mediated mechanisms. It seems that the knowledge of 
human fertility at the present day suffers more from ignorance of the cultural effects than 
of the biological. It is the attitudes and role of the individual in his society that seem as 
important as his biology in determining effective fertility." (p. 507.) 


Bennett, Wendell C. 

1953. Area Archeology. American Anthropologist 55: (1) 5-15. 
Eggan, Dorothy 

1952. The Manifest Content of Dreams: a Challenge to Social Science. American 

Anthropologist 54 : (4) 469-485. 
Hencken, Hugh 

1955. Indo-European Languages and Archeology. American Anthropologist 57 : 

(6, pt. 3), Memoir 84. 
Keesing, Felix 

1945. The South Seas in the Modern World. Revised edition. New York. 
Liz Ferreira, Dr. Antonio J. de 

n.d. An Anthropological Analysis of the Problem of Chronic Diseases Among the Thonga 

Peoples of Southeast Africa. Mss. Columbia University. 
Martin, Paul S.; Quimby, George I., Jr.; and Collier, Donald 

1947. Indians Before Columbus: Twenty Thousand Tears of North American History Revealed 

by Archaeology. Chicago. 
Movius, Hallam L., Jr. 

1949. The Lower Palaeolithic Cultures of Southern and Eastern Asia. Transactions 
of the American Philosophical Society 38 : (4), 1948. Philadelphia. 

218 Men and Cultures 

Phillips, Philip, and Willey, Gordon 

1953. Method and Theory in American Archeology: an Operational Basis for 
Culture-Historical Integration. American Anthropologist 55 : (5, pt. 1) 615-633. 
Quain, Buell 

1948. Fijian Village. Chicago. 
Rouse, Irving 

1955. On the Correlation of Phases of Culture. American Anthropologist 57 : (4) 

Spencer, Dorothy M. 

1941. Disease, Religion, and Society in the Fiji Islands. American Ethnological Society 

Monographs , II. New York. 
Swanton, John R. 

1952. Indian Tribes of North America. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bull. 145 : 613. 

Washington, D.C. 
Thompson, Laura 

1938. The Culture History of the Lau Islands, Fiji. American Anthropologist 40 : (2) 


1940. Fijian Frontier. American Council, Institute of Pacific Relations. 
Thieme, Frederick B. 

1952. The Population as a Unit of Study. American Anthropologist 54 : (4) 504-509. 
Weltfish, Gene 

1956. The Perspective for Fundamental Research in Anthropology. Philosophy of 
Science 23 : (1) 63-73. 







Branimir Bratanit 

The center of the Balkan Peninsula is characterized by a special type of ard 1 
which differs entirely from other types of ards used eastward and westward 
from there (fig. I). 2 This difference consists not only in the construction of the 
implement as a whole and the particular shapes of its constituent parts, but also 

Fig. 1. Yugoslavia. Drawing somewhat schematized: all relevant qualities assembled in same 
specimen, which very rarely, or hardly ever, occurs in reality 

the central type has a nomenclature quite dissimilar to that of the other ard 
types 3 which we shall call, because of their geographical situation, niarginal 
ones. All of these marginal types have certain formal qualities in common, and 
their nomenclature, too, is congruous. The question before us evidently implies 
two entirely different traditions in the use of ploughing implements. Neverthe- 
less, both types of nomenclature are of Slavic origin, and both can be traced 
back to other Slavic peoples. But an ard type corresponding entirely to the 
central Balkan ard does not exist among any other Slavic people, and also 
nowhere else in the world. It is therefore interesting that a considerable number 
of its characteristic features are found in ploughing implements in the Scandi- 
navian area, especially in the most distinctive type of Swedish ard, grinddrder 

222 Men and Cultures 

(fig. 2) . 4 Both kinds of ard, the Balkan and the Swedish type, show the same basic 
construction of their frames: both are "four-sided." But this is not decisive. 
"Four-sided" ploughing implements are spread very widely, and many reasons 
make it probable that this particular constructive trait has grown out of several 
different older constructions independently, so that this would be an instance of 
cultural "convergence". On the contrary, a set of minor specific distinctive 
traits, by which both areas are joined together, seems to be more significant. 

Fig. 2. Sweden. Drawing somewhat schematized: all relevant qualities assembled in same 
specimen, which very rarely, or hardly ever, occurs in reality 

Here they are: (1) the high sheath which frequently serves as a second stilt 
for guiding the implement (in Scandinavia, moreover, the sheath is joined with 
the stilt by a special stave so as to form the characteristic "frame-handle"); 
(2) a cut-out on such a high sheath for the hand of the ploughman (or, in 
Scandinavia, a special handle on the fore-end of the horizontal stave joining 
the stilt and the sheath) ; (3) the position of the ploughman (he walks not to the 
rear of the implement, but at the side of it, often grasping the implement with 
both hands, one upon the stilt, the other on the sheath, or on the "frame- 
handle") ; (4) the shape of the plough-beam which is squared so as to form, in 
cross-section, a parallelogram set on edge; (5) the yoke-pin put through the 
beam in horizontal position; (6) the rather high sole, bevelled on its fore-end, 
and frequently cut out, in a roundish fashion, upon the top-side of it; (7) con- 
trasting with this, often a very slender and slim stilt, widened only at the place 
where the beam is mortised into it ; (8) frequently the characteristic appearance 
of the whole implement because of the strongly diverging top-ends of the stilt 
and of the sheath; (9) sometimes a row of holes on the sheath for managing the 
depth of the furrow; and (10) a certain similarity is shown thereby in that the 
Scandinavian share sometimes embraces the sheath with a fork-shaped tang, 
and that it is placed somewhat obliquely, in several cases even somehow 
prolonged, by the obliquely fixed mouldstrokers, to the place where the beam 
and the stilt join, which, all taken together, reminds one of the characteristic 
oblique mouldboard of the similar Balkan ard. 

Some Similarities between Ards and their Methodological Significance 223 

Fig. 3. Azerbaidjan. Free after Feilberg, 1936, fig. 7 

A number of the formal peculiarities in question 5 appear also in a part of 
Anterior Asia, comprising Armenia, the Caucasian countries, and north- 
western Iran, similarly on ploughing implements which can be regarded as 
" four-sided". Moreover, there are some formal features that connect ploughing 
implements of this area with those of Scandinavia, although not occurring, 
generally, in the Balkans. It has long ago been pointed out by various authors 
that the Scandinavian "frame-handle" and the characteristic position of the 
ploughman had their analogues in these parts of Western Asia. To this, some 
further constructive particularities can be added: (1 1) in both areas the plough- 
beam is frequently not mortised into the stilt (construction a), but the stilt 

Fig. 4. Southwestern Shore of the Caspian Sea. Free after Leser, 1931, fig. 215 

passes through the beam (construction </); (12) sometimes the beam and the 
stilt are not joined by mortising at all, but by scarfing or by tying together 
(construction n) ; (13) in some cases the plough-beam is put into a large aperture 
at the lower end of the stilt, where its height (and, consequently, the depth of 
the furrow) can be regulated by the aid of several small holes (much as is done 
otherwise at the sheath); (14) a particular shape of the beam, which is, in 
substance, straight and only bent twice at its rear end so as to render this rear 
end somewhat lower, but parallel to the whole beam (shape //, cf. fig. 4). 
On the other hand, the most important part of the central Balkan ard, its 
characteristic middle-placed oblique mouldboard, can be manufactured (15) 


Men and Cultures 

of a huge, hollowed-out-from-below, block of wood, and a very similar shape 
(formally and functionally) of the sole is found in some ards of Transcaucasia, 
thus forming another congruity between these two areas. 

None, or almost none, of the aforementioned peculiarities are required by 
the purpose of the implement or by the material of which it is made. They are 
not found in large parts of the agricultural zone of the world, where similar 
results have been reached by other means. It is not likely, therefore, that they 
might have originated independently, and they are too many so that their 
existence might be accounted for by chance. Consequently, some historical 

Fig. 5. Ukraina. Free after Moszynski, 1929, fig. 125 

connections of one kind or another are to be assumed, joining together these 
three centres where a greater or less assemblage of the distinctive traits in 
question occurs on local ploughing implements. But the distance between them 
is great and they are populated by different peoples, with very different 
languages, while no direct historical relations ever connecting them are known. 
Still, the region intervening between these three areas is not entirely devoid of 
all traces of some possible connecting links between them. Some of the ard 
types resembling as a whole the central Balkan ard can be traced northwest- 
wards, across Slovenia and Austria, to central Bohemia, analogies including 
partly also the typical Slavic nomenclature of the central Balkan ard. Further, 
some detached instances of the formal qualities and names in question can be 
found, in quite different ard types, in some other Slavic areas (parts of Ukraine, 
Poland, and White Russia, including the territory of the western, asymmetrical, 
type of sokha), in (former Slavic) Mecklenburg, and in the Baltic countries. 
It is significant, however, that Slavic names belonging to the nomenclature of 
the central Balkan ard, are confined only to such implements of Western and 
Eastern Slavs as show, at least, also some analogies to its formal peculiarities, 
whereas the nomenclature of other Slavic ards resembles that of the marginal 
ard types of the Balkan Peninsula. This has permitted some historical and 

Some Similarities between Ards and their Methodological Significance 225 

chronological inferences elucidating the existence of that special ard type in the 
Balkans, which have been dealt with in a former paper (Bratanic*, 1951). Besides 
nomenclature, the chief resemblance between the Central Balkan and the 
Polish-Ukrainian-White Russian areas is that the working parts of the ards of 
that area and of the one-sided sokha, being without sole, largely correspond 
(both in their shapes and functionally) to the central oblique mouldboard of the 
Balkan ard. This agreement would be even greater if we should have more and 
stronger evidence for a Bosnian ard without sole (cf. Bratanid, 1953, fig. 4, 5). 
Moreover, some of these implements are held by both hands, having frequently 
two handles, shaped differently, so that the ploughman is obliged to hold one 
handle " off himself" and the other "towards himself," 6 exactly as is done with 
the central Balkan ard, and probably also with corresponding ards of Scandi- 
navia and Anterior Asia. The same implements often show the particular shape 

;*\!% """" UiJ ~ - * - 

Fig. 6. Poland. Free after Moszynski, 1929, fig. 127 

of beam and horizontal position of the yoke-pin (traits 4, 5) which we know from 
the Balkans, Scandinavia, and Anterior Asia. With the ards of the latter two 
areas some Ukrainian ards share the stilt passing through the beam (construc- 
tion n = trait 11), and the particular, twice bent, beam (shape H = trait 14; 
cf. fig. 4). And a kind of "frame-handle," a stave going obliquely from one 
handle to the beam, is characteristic not only of a great many ploughing imple- 
ments of northern Ukraine, White Russia, and Baltic countries, but it is also 
rather common in Scandinavia (besides the ordinary "frame-handle") on 
different ard types, and reaches even to the Shetland Islands. 

The special investigations which have been made up to the present have been 
to a certain extent adequate, unfortunately, only for the Swedish, Finnish, 
Esthonian, and for a part of the Yugoslav and Bulgarian areas. Still, the present 
evidences already seem to indicate a vast territory of similar tradition concern- 
ing ploughing implements, extending from the Caspian Sea and the central 
part of the Balkan Peninsula across the eastern half of central Europe and a 
part of eastern Europe, to the Scandinavian north (fig. 7). It must be emphasized 
that none of the distinctive traits in question are to be found, normally, in the 
Mediterranean area, in western Europe, or in the western part of central Europe. 
On the contrary although this is not very relevant to the present survey 


226 Men and Cultures 

some traces of the same peculiarities of ards seem to have spread far to the east, 
to the south, and to the southeast: to central Asia (traits 4, 5, 15) and Egypt 
(4, 5), India (1), Burma (1, 4, 5), Cochinchina (1, 15), and, perhaps, across 
China (9, 10) as far as Korea (1). 

Fig. 7. Map of Distribution of Ard Types 

A number of characteristic traits assembled on certain "four-sided" ard- types 
(in Scandinavia also on other ploughing implements of similar construction). 

Detached characteristic traits, more or less expressed, on various types of ploughing 

The area of the western, one-sided, sokha. 

The facts hastily set forth here, and their characteristic geographical spread, 
cry to be explained in a proper scientific way (not to be carelessly explained 
away). All this may be results of a variety of factors, but the main problems 
arising here are of historical nature. It is impossible, in a short report, to point 
to all methodological implications arising from the situation which has just been 
outlined. Of course, for the ultimate solution of such problems the coordination 
and synthesis of the results of several sciences, such as history, archaeology, 

Some Similarities between Ards and their Methodological Significance 227 

ethnology, linguistics, and physical anthropology, are desirable and necessary. 
But this synthesis must be a real collaboration, not a mutual cribbing, re- 
narration, or relying on ready-made concepts belonging to another discipline, 
which so often leads to a circulus vitiosus. It is not unknown that "we tend to try 
to settle things much too fast" (Forde, 1953, p. 82). We even tend to explain 
and to "understand" them before we know them sufficiently. Based on quite 
insufficient, frequently unreliable, and usually vague and unclear data from 
written sources or from archaeological finds, a general picture concerning a 
certain cultural problem frequently comes into being, and this supported by 
eventual reputation of its author or by agreement of a number of those who 
have nothing to say about the special issue in question can become settled, so 
that judgements on every single phenomenon are formed according to it, and 
new evidence and new opinions are accepted, discarded, or ignored respectively 
after this fashion. Such predilections to explain every new particular pheno- 
menon or new question by a ready-made conception of a general cultural 
height (actual or supposed), of a social structure (actual or supposed), or of an 
economic system (actual or supposed), are not only the source of many wrong 
interpretations of the disposable material, but can become a serious obstacle 
for all true scientific work. However, if historicity is not restricted to written 
documents or archaeological finds, if history and especially cultural history 
is not regarded as what various authors, at various times, have thought it was, 
or wished it to be, but as what actually "happened in history," then it must be 
recognized that by far the largest part of human cultural history is recorded 
solely in the products of culture, these representing its only documents. If this 
major part of culture history is not to be entirely abandoned, it must be recon- 
structed by a cautious, difficult, and long-lasting procedure. Thereby the 
importance of a critical ethnological research, working back from the 
present into the past, from the known to the unknown, from the particular to 
the general (not inversely), becomes enormous. This ethnological research can 
show, it is true, various types of approach to its material and various objectives 
(historical reconstruction being one of them), which may require different 
methods and techniques of investigation. These different objectives and methods 
can supplement each other's deficiencies and present a mutual cross-fertilizing 
influence. But there is, regularly, a certain logical order in the process of 
scientific research, a gradual progressing, in which one stage of research always 
presupposes the preceding one. Various methodical procedures must never be 
confounded or mistaken for others in the course of investigation, and their 
single stages must not be skipped over or anticipated. Before the questions of 
"how" and "why" can be posed, the question of "what" (has actually 
happened) must be answered. That is, historical facts and connections them- 
selves must be scientifically established first, and only then can they be 
explained in terms of causality. For this first and indispensable step in recon- 
structing cultural history, every detail perhaps quite insignificant in other 
respects can be of greatest importance. We cannot "understand" or judge a 
man by the colour of his eyes or his hair, by his stature, by the shape of his nose, 
by his blood group, or by his finger-prints. These traits tell us nothing about 
his social or economic status, about his abilities, or his human values, nor can 
we predict his behaviour in various situations by means of them. But we cannot 
identify a man in every-day life without the help of such traits, and they can 
render it possible to prove his paternity or, eventually, some crime of his, too. 
For analogous identifying and detective work in ethnology, quite indispensable 

228 Men and Cultures 

in itself, very abundant and very detailed comparative material is needed, which 
can be obtained, in a satisfactory manner, only by a systematic and coordinative 
research on a broad international basis. Beyond this, a systematic body of work 
with an adequate organization is also required. But without this humble pre- 
paratory work, requiring much time, patience, energy, and also certain material 
resources, speculation cannot be replaced by scientific proof, and no final 
synthesis can be made satisfactorily. 

Ploughing implements are a most promising subject for such investigations. 
A large literature has already dealt with them for a long time. Nevertheless, 
we are still rather far from possessing sufficient, systematically collected, and 
reliable material, as indicated in the present short survey. However, they really 
constitute a rare bridge into the past. But "now that bridge is being rapidly 
destroyed " (Forde, 1953, p. 18), and it is to be feared that it may be, perhaps, 
completely destroyed before we can make the proper use of it. 

%agreb, Tugoslavia. 


1. This word denotes a symmetrical ploughing implement, without an unilateral 
mould board. 

2. Constructive formula Aaa3. For the symbols denoting single constructive elements 
of ploughing implements, and for constructive formulas denoting different technical 
types of the construction of their frames, see Bratanic', 1953, Fig. 1, and Bratanic', 1955, 
Fig. 2. 

3. Constructive formulas Aal, Bbl, Cal, etc. 

4. Constructive formula Aa3. It is perhaps worth mentioning that this special type 
of ard, in its normal form, shows a rather similar central position in Sweden, with corres- 
ponding marginal types on both sides, like its southern analogue in the Balkan Peninsula. 

5. The high sheath (1), sometimes with a handle at it; the position of the ploughman 
(3), his grasping the implement with both hands; the shape of the beam (4), and the 
horizontal position of the yoke-pin (5) ; the high and beveled, or obliquely rising, sole 
(6); the special shape of the stilt (7). 

6. From which the specific Polish names of these handles are derived. 


Bratanic, Branimir 

1951. Uz problem doseljenja Jufnih Slavena. Nekoliko etnografsko-leksic'kih 

cinjenica. %bornik radova Fildzofskogfakulteta Sveuc'ilis'ta u agrebu, I. Zagreb. 
1953. Grade sprave centralnog dijela Balkanskog poluotoka. tyornik Etnografskog 

muzeja u Beogradu, 1901-1951. Beograd. 

1955. Einige Moglichkeiten zur Fortfiihrung der Pfluggerateforschung. Actes du 
IV e Congres International des Sciences Anthropologiques et Ethnologiques, Vienne, 
1952, Vol. 2. Vienna. 
Feilberg, Gunnar C. 

1936. Forelobig Beretning om en Rejse for Nationalmuseet til Iran 1935. Geografisk 

Tidskrift, Bind 39. Copenhagen. 
Forde, Daryll 

1953. Discussion in An Appraisal of Anthropology Today. Chicago. 
Lcser, Paul 

1931. Entstehung und Verbreitung des Pfluges. Miinster i.W. 
Moszynski, Kazimierz 

1953. Kultura ludowa Slowian. L Krak6w. 




Robert L. Carneiro 

Primitive peoples in forested areas throughout the world practice a system of 
agriculture which is known variously as slash-and-burn, milpa, and shifting 
cultivation. Its general features are as follows. Early in the dry season an area 
of forested land selected as a garden site is cut, and the trees and undergrowth 
left on the ground to dry. A few months later the dried vegetation is burned. At 
the beginning of the rainy season the crops are planted. The wood ashes that 
remain on the ground restore some minerals to the soil, but otherwise no fertil- 
izer is used. 

The same plot is replanted until a decrease in the fertility of the soil, or, 
especially, the invasion of weeds and grass, makes it uneconomical to do so any 
longer. At this point it is abandoned, and a new area of forest is cut down, 
burned, and planted as before. An abandoned plot becomes so overrun with 
weeds and grass that even if its fertility soon recovers, its recultivation by such 
simple means as digging sticks or hoes is made almost impossible. To be able 
to recultivate a once-abandoned plot a milpa fanner must generally wait until 
a new cover of forest has grown up and shaded out the smaller vegetation. This 
usually takes many years. 

Since under this system of agriculture land is exhausted at a faster rate than it 
recovers, the area of arable land held in reserve for future cultivation must 
be several times larger than that currently planted. Therefore, only a fraction 
of the habitat can be exploited agriculturally at one time. 

In a number of societies practicing milpa agriculture it has been observed 
that villages sometimes have to be moved because the nearby arable land is 
exhausted. The occasional relocation of the village because of soil depletion has 
been taken by many writers to be a necessary consequence of slash-and-burn 
cultivation something inherent in the system itself. To give but one example, 
V. Gordon Ghilde 1 has written: 

Under . . . [slash-and-burn] cultivation any plot will become exhausted 
after one or two croppings. The simplest reaction is to start again on a fresh 
plot. The repetition of this process soon uses up all the land conveniently 
accessible from a single settlement. Thereupon, the whole settlement is 
transferred to a new location and the cycle repeated here (p. 198). 

Although many students are quite ready to assume that the depletion of the 
land inevitably brings about the relocation of villages, no one, to my knowledge, 
has ever attempted to demonstrate this in a rigorous way. A proposition with 
such important implications certainly bears testing in the light of the data at 
hand. This is what I propose to do here. 

My interest in this problem was aroused during field work carried out among 
the Kuikuru Indians of the Upper Xingu region of central Brazil. I discovered 

230 Men and Cultures 

that the Kuikuru, who subsist very largely by the slash-and-burn cultivation 
of manioc, have maintained their village in the same locale for the last ninety 
years. It is true that during that time they have had four different village sites, 
but all of them have been within a few hundred yards of each other. Further- 
more, what thrice has prompted the Kuikuru to move their village was not the 
depletion of the soil at all, but rather supernatural reasons of one sort or another. 
The Waurd, a neighboring tribe with a mode of subsistence like that of the 
Kuikuru, also have shown the same pattern of settlement. Writing about them 
Pedro de Lima 2 has said : 

According to information that we obtained, the Waurd have lived in the 
same place for many years, having had a number of village sites, all near the 
present one. In the course of time [probably 100 years at least] they have 
built no less than 10 villages, each new one being 100 or 200 meters distant 
from the previous one. These moves are motivated by superstitious beliefs, 
(p. 5; my translation.) 

Thus, to all intents and purposes, the Kuikuru and the Waura, shifting 
cultivators par excellence, have nevertheless been able to remain sedentary. We 
see, therefore, that slash-and-burn agriculture can be compatible with perma- 
nent settlements. 

This conclusion in no way denies the kernel of truth contained in the com- 
monly accepted theory about the implications of slash-and-burn farming. 
Under certain circumstances shifting cultivation may indeed bring about 
periodic relocations of the village. What is needed is some technique for evalua- 
ting the various factors involved in order to determine how, by their interplay, 
they either permit or prevent fixity of settlement. This problem is not only 
soluble, but lends itself to precise, even mathematical formulation as do very 
few others in ethnology. 

The significant variables are six in number, and all of them are capable of 
being quantified. These six variables, with appropriate symbols for each, are 
the following: 

A the area of cultivated land (in acres) required to provide the average 
individual with the amount of food that he ordinarily derives from culti- 
vated plants per year. 

P the population of the community. 

T the number of years that a plot of land continues to produce before it has 
to be abandoned. 

R the number of years an abandoned plot must lie fallow before it can be 

T the total area of arable land (in acres) that is within practicable walking 
distance of the village. 

L the length of time (in years) that a village can remain in a single location 
in so far as the requirements of agriculture are concerned. 

Using these variables it is possible to construct several formulas 3 each of which 
enables us to solve for a particular unknown when the values of the other 


( R 4- Y\ 

variables are known. Thus, formula ( 1 ) : P = ^ ' > will tell us how large 


a population can be supported permanently in one locale given certain values 
for the terms on the right-hand side of the equation. 

Slash-and-Burn Agriculture: Its Implications for Settlement Patterns 231 

If, on the other hand, we wish to determine the smallest area of cultivable 
land that will support a village of a given size in the same locale indefinitely, we 

make use of a different formula, (2): T = P * A x (R + T). 

And if we wish to know how long a community can remain in the same place 
before soil depletion forces it to move (if it ever does), we use formula (3): 


^ ~ TD - jYrr' where L is less than (R+T). If L turns out to be equal to or 
(r x A)/2 

greater than (R+ T), then, for reasons to be made clear in a moment, the locale 
in question can be occupied indefinitely. 

Having exhibited some of the formulas that can be derived from the 
variables, I would like to try to prove mathematically what we already know 
historically: namely, that the practice of slash-and-burn cultivation by the 
Kuikuru has not made it necessary for them to change the location of their 
village. In order to do this we must be able to substitute actual numbers for 
the symbols. The values assigned to the variables were determined during the 
course of field work, and later refined with the help of aerial photographs. 
They are as follows: 

A (the acreage of manioc required to support the average person for one 

year) = .7 

P (the population of the community) = 145 
T (the number of years a manioc field produces before being aban- 

doned) = 3 
R (the number of years the plot must lie fallow before it can be reculti- 

vated) = 25 
T (the acres of cultivable land lying within practicable walking distance 

of the village) = 13,350 
L (the length of time in years that the village may remain in the same 

locale), is what we are solving for in this problem. 

The appropriate equation to use is (3) : 

L = (P 

Substituting numbers for the symbols we have: 

L = (145 x ; jR + r =28 ' 

Solving the equation we get L == 395, and since L is greater than (R + T), L is, 
infinite. Let me try to clarify the meaning of this answer. The value 395 for L 
represents the number of years it would take the Kuikuru to plant and exhaust 
successively all of the arable land conveniently available to them. Since this 
period is much longer than the 25 years it takes for a plot to be exhausted and 
recover, it is clear that at the end of the 395 years the Kuikuru could simply go 
back to the first plots and start all over. 

Thus we have succeeded in demonstrating mathematically that under a 
system of shifting cultivation the Kuikuru have been able to remain perma- 
nently settled. 

The fact that L turned out to be so much larger than (R+T) indicates that 
the Kuikuru are sedentary by a wide margin. In order to find out just how ample 

232 Men and Cultures 

this margin is, let us calculate the size of the smallest area which, under pre- 
vailing conditions, would permit a village of 145 persons to stay indefinitely in the 

P x A 
same locale. The appropriate formula in this case is (2) : T = ^ x (R + T). 

145 x 7 
When we substitute the actual figures we have T = - = - x (25 + 3). 

Solving the equation through we get an answer of 947.25 acres. This means that 
by utilizing only 950 acres, or about 7% of the arable land within an accessible 
radius, the Kuikuru could still remain completely sedentary. 

Another question of interest is how large a village population, subsisting under 
the same conditions, could be permanently supported in the habitat of the 

(R 4- Y\ 
Kuikuru. To arrive at an answer we use formula (1) : P = - - j - > which, 


/25 4.3) x 
once substitutions are made, gives us P = - - ^ -- This yields as an 

answer, P = 2,041. That is to say, with slash-and-burn agriculture as the only 
limiting factor, a village of some 2,000 persons could live on a permanent 
basis where the Kuikuru do now. 

The various formulas used here are of course perfectly general. They can be 
applied to any group practicing shifting cultivation, provided there are figures 
to insert in place of the symbols. 

We have seen that the Kuikuru and the Waura at least, do not have to re- 
locate their villages periodically because of soil exhaustion. Now the major 
objective of this paper is to determine whether or not the same is true for the 
average community practicing shifting cultivation. In trying to answer this 
question I will use the Tropical Forest of South America as a proving ground, 
not only because I am most familiar with it, but also because it is a large and, I 
think, typical area of slash-and-burn farming. 

The procedure will be first, to ascertain what the average horticultural 
conditions are for the Tropical Forest; second, to compute by means of one of 
the formulas how large a sedentary village could be supported under such 
conditions ; and third, to match the figure thus obtained against an independent 
estimate of average village size for the Tropical Forest. The data that are needed 
to determine average horticultural conditions for this area are difficult to find 
in sufficient completeness or detail. For this reason the safest course is to take 
the figures we have for the Kuikuru, assume that they represent optimal condi- 
tions, and scale them down in order to arrive at "average" conditions. Since the 
figures for the Kuikuru appear to be much nearer average than optimal, the 
" average" Tropical Forest conditions we obtain by scaling them down will be 
a low average. This gives us the assurance that we are not presenting an overly 
favorable picture of horticultural conditions in the area. 

I will begin by assuming that while the Kuikuru are willing to go 4 or 5 miles 
to till a field of manioc, the average Amazonian cultivators find it impracticable 
to walk farther than 3 miles. Taking 3 miles as a radius, I will assume further 
that of the area of the circle generated by swinging this radius a full 360, only % 
is suitable for cultivation. This is an area of 5,971 acres, compared to the 
13,350 acres of the Kuikuru. 

Slash-and-Burn Agriculture : Its Implications for Settlement Patterns 233 

Next, whereas a field of manioc yields for about 3 years among the Kuikuru, 
I will assume that the average Tropical Forest Indians abandon a plot after 
2.5 years. Furthermore, instead of allowing 25 years as the period of necessary 
fallow for abandoned plots, I will arbitrarily raise that figure to 30 years. 
Lastly, I shall assume that 1 acre (instead of .7 acre) is needed to grow the 
amount of manioc required per person per year. This is indeed a high figure; 
de Fauterau* has estimated that among the Indians of French Guiana, for 
example, the area needed for this is only .2 acre. 

We now have the following numerical values : 

T = 5,971 
R = 30 
T = 2.5 
A = 1 

5 > 971 X2.5 

(30 -f 2 5) 
Substituting these numbers into formula (1) we have P = ^ 

which yields as an answer P = 459. Thus, under distinctly low average 
conditions of agricultural subsistence, it would still be possible in a Tropical 
Forest environment for an Indian village of nearly 500 people to remain com- 
pletely sedentary. (One can readily appreciate that if the figures used as 
average values had been nearer the true average, P would have come out 
substantially higher than 500.) 

The next facet of the problem is to ascertain the average size of villages in 
the Tropical Forest to see whether it is larger or smaller than 459. This can be 
determined with reasonable accuracy by referring to a map compiled by Julian 
Steward 5 for Volume 5 of the Handbook of South American Indians. This map 
shows the distribution of community size for all of native South America broken 
down into the following class intervals: 1-50, 51-150, 151-500, 500-3,000, and 
3,000-plus. It is quite evident from the map that the most typical community 
size in the Tropical Forest typical in the sense of covering the largest portion 
of this culture area falls into the class interval 51-150. Thus average village 
size in the Tropical Forest is well below the size that average horticultural 
conditions would permit. 

On the basis of these findings I would venture the following suggestion : If 
the ethnographic or archeological record reveals periodic relocations of villages 
of 500 persons or less, causes other than soil depletion should be assumed to have 
been responsible unless there is clear and conclusive evidence to the contrary. 
What these other causes are constitutes an interesting problem in itself, but one 
which falls outside the scope of this paper. 

Let me say again that under certain conditions which formula (d) would 
reveal to us soil exhaustion may indeed force a society to move its village. 
However, I am led to conclude that for primitive peoples in general permanence 
of settlement is certainly compatible with slash-and-burn agriculture. 

The conclusions which I have reached in this paper are by no means novel. 
They were understood and expressed in the earliest systematic treatment of 
slash-and-burn agriculture that I know of, O. F. Cook's " Milpa Agriculture, A 
Primitive Tropical System." 6 Writing in 1919 Cook said: 

Milpa agriculture is a permanent system if the intervals between successive 
clearings of the same land are very long and the forest has time to restore the 

234 Men and Cultures 

land to its original condition. [In this case] a few people can live indefinitely 
in the same region. ... (p. 323.) 

What I have done is simply to isolate the relevant factors, reduce them to 
variables which can be quantified, and arrange these into mathematical for- 
mulas. These formulas provide us with a means of answering several questions 
of interest. They also serve to emphasize that local conditions pertinent to 
shifting cultivation must be known in detail before statements concerning the 
permissible size or duration of a village can be made with finality. 

New York, New York. 


1. V. Gordon Childe, "Old World Prehistory: Neolithic." In A. L. Kroeber (Ed.), 
Anthropology Today, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1953, pp. 193-210. 

2. Pedro E. de Lima, "Os Indies Waura: Observa^Ses Gerais. A Ceramica." Boletim 
do Museu National. Nova Strie. Antropologia. No. 9. Rio de Janeiro, 1950. 

3. The formulas presented in this paper are modifications of those contained in the 
paper as originally read. For pointing out the slight inaccuracies in the original 
formulas and for suggesting how they might be revised I am indebted to Dr. Albert C. 

4. Eric de Fauterau, Etudes d'Ecologie, Humaine dans VAire Amazonienne. Fontenay- 
LeComte. Vendee, 1952, p. 3. 

5. Julian H. Steward, "South American Cultures: An Interpretative Summary.'* 
In Julian H. Steward (Ed.), Handbook of South American Indians, Volume 5 : The Comparative 
Ethnology of South American Indians, pp. 669772. (Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin, 
No. 143). Washington, B.C., Government Printing Office, 1949, p. 676. 

6. O. F. Cook, "Milpa Agriculture, A Primitive Tropical System." Smithsonian Institu- 
tion Annual Report, 1919, pp. 307-326. Washington, B.C., Government Printing Office, 




Chester S. Chard 

One of the major ethnographic phenomena demanding historical explanation 
has always been the admittedly very striking similarities between the so-called 
"Palaeo- Asiatics" of northeastern Siberia by which I mean here the Chukchi, 
Koryak and Kamchadal and the Indians of our Northwest Coast. In the early 
days, this similarity was believed to extend to language and physical type as 
well as to culture, and people tended to think in terms of the identity of these 
two groups not just their similarity. Even Boas suggested that the "Palaeo- 
Asiatics" were a backwash of people from the New World who had drifted 
back across into Siberia. As late as 1928, Jochelson labelled them "America- 
noids. " The general view was that the northeastern Siberians and the North- 
west Coast Indians represented a single population that had been split apart in 
recent times by a wedge of alien Eskimo entering at Bering Strait. This in 
particular was Boas' conclusion as a result of the work of the famous Jesup 
Expedition around the turn of the century. Boas believed at that time in a cen- 
tral Canadian origin for the Eskimo, and considered them to be late comers 
to Alaska and Bering Strait. 

This view prevailed down to the early 1930's, until the excavations by Collins 
and others on St. Lawrence Island upset the picture by demonstrating con- 
clusively that the Eskimo were no newcomers, but had been well established 
around the Strait for at least 2000 years. Thus, the existence of any former 
continuum of culture between Asia and America necessarily was pushed back 
to a date too remote to account for such close modern similarities. In one impor- 
tant respect, however, the old view remained unchanged : the Eskimo at Bering 
Strait were still seen as a barrier between the Old and New Worlds. 

So an alternative link had to be found through which more recent contacts 
could have been maintained, and the choice quite logically fell on the Aleutian 
Islands. From the mid-thirties onward, we find evidence being advanced in 
support of this new answer to the great problem of the North Pacific. 

In recent years I have given some attention to this question : ethnographically, 
in connection with an analysis of the culture of the Kamchadal (Chard, MS) ; 
archaeologically, as part of a continuing study of northeast Asiatic prehistory. 
My conclusions have been that some minor and very recent cultural diffusion 
may be admitted via the Aleutian chain, corresponding conceptually to De 
Laguna's circum- Pacific culture drift, but far more limited: such items as 
sunshade hats, lamps with holes for a stick stand, the sadiron lamp, or the use 
of red-tinted seal hairs for clothing decoration ; but that this cannot possibly 
explain the major, deeper similarities with which we are concerned here. 

The evidence that has been advanced in support of the Aleutians as a primary 
route of cultural transmission is almost entirely distributional in nature : the 
existence of traits shared by northeast Siberia and northwest America, and also 

236 Men and Cultures 

occurring in the Aleutians (thus strongly suggesting their diffusion via the 
islands); or so-called "split distributions" where the trait is absent in the 
Aleutians (and also at Bering Strait), suggesting the possibility of transmission 
via the islands. The direction of diffusion in any case is presumed to be indicated 
by the relative extent of distribution of the given element in the Old and New 
Worlds. Some support for the Aleutian route is also provided by the well-known 
seamanship and nautical exploits of the Aleut; nor should we overlook the 
equal, if less known, abilities of the Kuriles on the Asiatic side. 

Only a very summary critique of this evidence is possible in so brief a paper. 
In general, the traits adduced are scattered items, not a coherent complex. In 
many cases, the major argument for diffusion of a given trait via the Aleutian 
route is its apparent absence in the Bering Strait area, either ethnographically 
or archaeologically. It seems to be generally assumed that the sequence of 
archaeological cultures here, as presently known, faithfully mirrors the cultural 
activities of this area for the past 2000 years, and that no trait could have 
entered or left the New World during this time without leaving some trace of 
its passage in the archaeological record. This is a debatable assumption. And 
in the case of ethnographic evidence, the absence of a trait in historic Bering 
Strait Eskimo culture seems hardly conclusive in view of the impact of Thule 
influences on that area. 

As examples of the evidence for the Aleutian theory, I will cite four items, 

The smoke-hole entrance to subterranean houses, while quite widespread in 
parts of western America, was believed to be restricted in Asia to the Koryak 
and Kamchadal. This distribution, plus its presence in the Aleutians, seemed to 
indicate fairly recent diffusion from America to Asia via the islands. However, 
I have found evidence that such a mode of entrance was once much more 
general in eastern Asia, and at quite an early date indicating that this trait 
is too old and widespread to have been the subject of any recent transfer across 
the Aleutians. Furthermore, the similarity of the Aleut and Kamchadal houses 
has been somewhat exaggerated, conveying an impression of closer relationship 
than the facts would justify. 

Heizer (1943) has made quite a convincing case for the transfer of aconite 
poison to the New World in fairly recent times as an integral part of a lance 
whaling complex. I would tend to accept this particular complex, at the same 
time questioning whether the mere use of aconite may not be an older element in 
the North Pacific than has been realized. Such use is not nearly as restricted as 
Heizer indicated. There is now evidence that aconite poison was known to the 
Chukchi and Asiatic Eskimo. Among the Kamchadal it was certainly not 
confined to a whaling complex, since they did not hunt whales ; and it was used 
for all purposes by the Ainu and the Kuriles. There are also references to the 
use of aconite poison on arrows by the Aleut and Koniag, suggesting that even 
here it was not solely restricted to a secret whaling cult. The Thompson Indians 
also used a plant closely related to aconite for arrow poison; and three other 
Plateau groups employed vegetable poisons of possibly similar type. 

The practice of mummifying the dead has been suggested as another element 
which diffused via the Aleutians. But Laughlin and Marsh now state (1951, 
p. 82), on the basis of their recent work, that among the Aleut this practice 
could not have preceded the Russian advent by very long, and never spread 
as far as the western Aleutians. 

Most famous of the split distributions elements not actually occurring in 
the Aleutians but inferred to have passed through them owing to their alleged 

Northwest Coast Northeast Asiatic Similarities : A new Hypothesis 237 

absence at Bering Strait is the cycle of Raven tales. Jochelson's study of 
Koryak folklore (1908, pp. 358-362) demonstrated that 84% of the motifs in 
Koryak tales are shared with the Northwest Coast Indians, and only 20% with 
the Old World. He found a 24% correlation with Eskimo, but this apparently 
was Central or Eastern Eskimo. He concluded that there was virtual identity 
between the Indian folklore and that of the Koryak and Kamchadal; and that 
this could only be explained by a close relationship in fairly recent times 
interrupted, of course, by the Eskimo wedge at Bering Strait. 

It should be pointed out, however, that Jochelson deliberately excluded 
Alaskan Eskimo folklore from his study, on the assumption that since these 
Eskimo were recent intruders, they did not figure in the level at which he was 
operating, and would only confuse the issue if included. Now, a recent study of 
the Raven tales by Chowning (Master's Thesis, Univ. of Penna.) has revealed 
that the Alaskan Eskimo tales form a perfect link between those of the North- 
west Coast and Athabaskans on the one hand, and the Siberians on the other. 
So the "split distribution" turns out to be not split at all, but continuous via 
Bering Strait, and a major prop of the Aleutian theory dissolves. 

I wonder if we have not allowed the ghost of the "Eskimo wedge" to 
dominate a lot of our thinking for too long a time. We have been assuming that 
culture traits could not pass from Asia to America through this culturally 
"hostile" intermediary. But may not the spectacular local efflorescence at 
Bering Strait have tended to obscure an originally basic kinship between the 
cultures on either side ? I suggest that the barrier to diffusion here may be largely 
imaginary; that there was, on the contrary, a continuum of culture around the 
rim of the North Pacific more marked in earlier periods of which the Eskimo 
of Alaska formed an integral part. If there was thus no real blockade at Bering 
Strait, what need is there to concoct a less plausible Aleutian link to explain 
the major resemblances on both sides ? 

Let us see what further evidence there may be for such a former continuum. 

My analysis of Kamchadal culture brought out its close ties with the immedi- 
ate hinterland, as would be expected from the linguistic picture. But it also 
revealed a very considerable body of culture shared with the Eskimo. Most of 
this is common to Chukchi and Koryak as well, but I was surprised to find a 
number of very distinctive Eskimo traits that seem absent in one or both of these 
intervening groups e.g., the very elaborate system of tabus, and specifically 
the prohibition on cooking land and sea animals in the same pot; expiation of 
tabu violations by confession; divination by lifting a part of the body. This of 
course raised the question of a former closer contact between the Kamchadal 
and the Eskimo, of such nature as might account for these parallels in intel- 
lectural culture. It suggested the possibility that an Eskimo population might 
once have been more widely spread along the western shores of Bering Sea * 
not the elaborate forms of Eskimo culture which flourished under the 'peculiar 
conditions at Bering Strait, but a more basic, generalized variety. 

As you go northward from Kamchatka, the Eskimo element in the Siberian 
cultures increases sharply. And this phenomenon has been recognized by other 
students as well. We find Jochelson admitting that direct intercourse must have 
formerly existed between the Koryak and the Eskimo to account for the cul- 
tural situation; that too much is involved to be explained merely by diffusion 
via the Chukchi (1908, p. 359). Collins has also commented on the cultural 
resemblances of the Maritime Koryak and Chukchi to the Eskimo, and has 
expressed the opinion that these seem too fundamental and deep-seated to 

238 Men and Cultures 

have been acquired through recent contacts (1940, p. 541). Birket-Smith sees 
Eskimo influence visible along the Asiatic coast, "gradually decreasing . . . from 
the Chukchi in the north to the Gilyak in the south" (1951, p. 150). 

This picture of a cultural continuum shared by the Palaeo-Asiatics and 
Bering Sea Eskimos has linguistic and racial analogues as well. 

No one any longer believes that the Palaeo-Asiatic languages have anything 
in common with those of the Northwest Coast. But there is evidence of at least 
long association between Palaeo-Asiatics and Eskimo. Thalbitzer, for instance, 
found indications of a former fairly intimate contact between Koryak and 
Eskimo, now separated (1941, p. 576). Boas (1933, p. 369) saw a common 
psychological structure shared by the Eskimoan and Palaeo-Asiatic language 
groups a similarity in the mode of analyzing experience not found elsewhere, 
again suggesting prior association of all three Siberian languages with an 
Eskimo-speaking population. 

Similarly, the former belief in the "Americanoid" physical type of the 
Palaeo-Asiatics has been shattered by recent Soviet field work in northeastern 
Siberia (summarized in Chard, 1951, 1954). The resultant studies indicate 
that the closest racial affinities of the modern Palaeo-Asiatics are with the Bering 
Sea Eskimo and Aleut rather than with Indians or other Siberians. Eskimo 
features, furthermore, are most marked among the coastal populations the 
Maritime Koryak and Chukchi. 

I suggest that we can best explain this entire picture cultural, linguistic, 
and racial by postulating the former existence of a coastal population of 
Eskimo all the way from Kamchatka to Bering Strait, which was later sub- 
merged by the inland Palaeo-Asiatic tribes. 

Drucker (1955) has independently arrived at a similar concept of an Eskimo 
substratum for Northwest Coast culture; and I now propose that we visualize 
an ancient arc of related culture and population around the entire rim of the 
North Pacific from Kamchatka to Puget Sound, along which individual traits 
may have readily diffused in either direction. I would conceive of this arc as a 
belt of sedentary maritime peoples sharing a common cultural tradition, a 
rather comparable environment, and leading a roughly similar type of life 
based on fishing and varying degrees of sea-mammal hunting perhaps some- 
thing on the order of De Laguna's earliest stage at Cook Inlet. The local 
manifestations of culture within this arc would naturally be strongly colored by 
the particular ecology: e.g., the abundant cyclical fish resources and richer 
flora in the southern sectors, or the walrus and arctic conditions at the center 
on Bering Sea. The Old World half of this arc would have linked up with the 
ancient northeast Asiatic maritime world, from which may have come, about 
2000 years ago, the stimuli that gave birth to the brilliant cultural efflorescence 
at Bering Strait in combination with the rich natural wealth of that area. 
From such a cultural hearth at the Strait, influences doubtless subsequently 
spread out in both directions down the North Pacific rim, but so specialized 
was this Bering Sea culture in relation to its peculiar ecological base that 
these influences seem to have had little strength beyond the limits of that 
restricted region. Hence we see no trace of the effects of these post-A.D. 
Bering Sea cultures at either end of the arc in Kamchatka or the North- 
west Coast whereas older and more generalized traits seem to have diffused 

Drucker would see the Asiatic parallels on the Northwest Coast as later 
transferals via Eskimo or Aleut not as referable to his early Eskimoid stage 

Northwest Coast Northeast Asiatic Similarities: a new Hypothesis 239 

of Northwest Coast culture. I differ in suggesting that they were part of the 
common heritage of this early North Pacific continuum which emerges from 
our several hypotheses. The fact that the historic Northwest Coast Indians and 
Palaeo- Asiatics share certain elements is explained, I believe, by their respective 
invasion of the southern ends of this continuum and their adoption of these 
elements from this common source. There was no direct contact or diffusion 
between the Indians and the Siberians only participation in the common 
tradition of their Eskimoid predecessors on the shores of the North Pacific. 
Even parallels between Aleut and Kamchadal can largely be explained by 
this same common substratum without the necessity of extensive direct coiv- 

I believe that this hypothesis has the advantage of accounting for the situa- 
tion on both sides of the Pacific which any satisfactory explanation must be 
prepared to do. The day is past when New World culture history can be viewed 
in a vacuum. 

At any rate, I offer this proposed solution to the problems raised by the 
Jesup Expedition as a working hypothesis. If substantiated to any extent, it 
would, I believe, strengthen Drucker's theory of Northwest Coast culture 
history by furnishing a complementary situation; and it would also lend more 
substance to Okladnikov's view (see Chard, 1955) of Bering Sea Eskimo cul- 
ture as the terminal link in a chain of east Asiatic maritime cultures rather 
than a transplant from interior Siberia or central Canada. 

Berkeley, California. 


Birket-Smith, Kaj 

1951. "Recent Achievements in Eskimo Research." Journal of the Royal Anthro- 
pological Institute, 77 : (2) 145-157. London. 
Boas, Franz 

1933. "Relationships between North- West America and North-East Asia," in The 

American Aborigines, pp. 357-370. Toronto. 
Chard, Chester S. 

1951. "New Light on the Racial Composition of Northeastern Siberia." Kroeber 
Anthropological Society Papers, 5 : 26-47. Berkeley. 

1954. "Racial Types in Northeastern Asia." Kroeber Anthropological Society Papers, 
10 : 1-4. Berkeley. 

1955. "Eskimo Archaeology in Siberia." Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, 
II: (2) 150-177. Albuquerque. 

MS. "Kamchadal Culture and Its Relationships in the Old and New Worlds. v 
(Microfilm copies available in the Libraries of Congress, University of 
California, and Peabody Museum of Harvard University). 
Collins, Henry B. 

1940. "Outline of Eskimo Prehistory," in Essays in Historical Anthropology of North 

America, Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, 100 : 533-592. Washington. 
Drucker, Philip 

1955. "Sources of Northwest Coast Culture," in New Interpretations of Aboriginal 

American Culture History, pp. 59-81. Washington. 
Heizer, Robert F. 

1943. "Aconite Poison Whaling in Asia and America: An Aleution Transfer to the 
New World." Bureau of American Ethnology Bull. 133 : 415-468. Washington. 

240 Men and Cultures 

Jochelson, Waldemar 

1908. "The Koryak/' Memoirs, American Museum of Natural History, Vol. VI. New 

Laughlin, W. S., and G. H. Marsh 

1951. "A New View of the History of the Aleutians." Arctic, 4 : (2) 74-88. Ottawa. 
Thalbitzer, William 

1941. "The Ammassalik Eskimo." Meddelelser om Gr0nland, 40 : (2). Copenhagen. 





Gertrude E. Dole 

Manioc has been used as a staple food among the aborigines in approximately 
four-fifths of the area of South America, as well as in the Antilles and parts of 
Middle America. It is in fact the basis of much of the Tropical Forest type of 
culture. Tubers of the manioc plant may be prepared for use in several ways. 
They are most frequently used in the form of flour, the preparation of which 
requires that juice be removed from the grated pulp. A complex device was 
developed in aboriginal America to perform this function. This is the tipiti, or 
sleeve press, which is used in much of the area in which manioc is found. The 
invention of the tipiti has been regarded as somewhat of a mystery. Because of 
the complexity and wide distribution of the tipiti, a study of its development 
and distribution may throw light on the place of origin and spread of manioc 

It has been assumed by some ethnologists that the tipiti was the only native 
device for preparing manioc flour. Actually several other devices were used 
aboriginally in about half the area of distribution of cultivated manioc. I shall 
trace the evolution of the tipiti in reverse, in order to point out the antecedent 
form for each step. I have not attempted here to make an exhaustive survey of 
South American cultures but only to establish provisionally the distribution 
of various techniques for preparing manioc flour and the linguistic stocks and 
culture types with which they are associated. 

The manioc sleeve press is one of the most ingenious devices in the material 
culture of the tropical forest. It consists of a long cylindrical container which is 
open at one end. The container is constructed by diagonal weaving in such a 
way as to permit it to be stretched. By stretching the cylinder lengthwise its 
diameter is reduced, thus exerting pressure on the contents. When the press is 
filled with wet manioc pulp and stretched, the juice is forced out, leaving the 
pulp in the form of a coarse flour. To facilitate this process the tipiti is equipped 
with a loop at either end. The loop at the open end may be attached to a house 
beam and the lower loop weighted with a stone or slipped over another hori- 
zontal pole. The lower pole is then used as a lever, giving added mechanical 
advantage to the pressure exerted on it. 

Accounting for the origin and development of the tipiti will be simplified if 
we recognize at the outset that this is only a device for dehydrating the pulp 
and not a mechanism for eliminating the poisonous hydrocyanic or prussic 
acid which forms in bitter manioc. That its purpose is not the removal of poison 
is indicated by the fact that identical methods are used for treating both sweet 
and bitter manioc. Furthermore, leaching the pulp is neither necessary nor 
adequate for removing the poison. Prussic acid is very volatile and may be 


Men and Cultures 

Distribution of the Devices 
Used in Preparing Manioc 

Fig. 1. Map of the Distribution of Devices for Preparing Manioc Flour 

Techniques for Manioc Flour Preparation as Key to Culture History 



Tribes Linguistic stocks 
Hands only: & 

1. Gajabi Tupi 

2. Carajji Carajd 

3. Tapirape* Tupi 

4. Tenetehara (with Tupi 


Leaves : f 
5. Chukahamay 

Bark: o 

6. Nambicuara Nambicuara 

7. Northern Cayap6 Ge" 

8. Sherente Ge* 

9. Sioni (wild manioc) Tucano 
10. Timbira G6 

Woven mat: * 

1 1 . Jurua-Purus tribes 

12. Shiriana 

13. Witoto 

Open sack: -o- 

14. Cahuapanan tribes 
7. Cayapo 

13. Witoto 

15. Yamamadi 

Twined mat: 

Arawak, Catu- 

kina, Pano 



16. Aueti 


17. Baure* (fixed in 



18. Huanyam 


19. Kalapalu 


20. Kamayurd 


21. Kuikuru 


22. Matipii 


23. Mehinaku 


24. Trumai 


25. Waur* 


26. Yawalapitf 


Tipiti: I 

27. Achagua 

28. Amanaye* 

29. Andoke 

30. Apalai 

31. Apiaka 

32. Ararendeurara 

33. Arekuna 

34. Bora 

35. Garijona 

36. Caipund 

37. Ghacobo (sweet 

manioc only) 

38. Ghiricoa (no manioc) 

39. Cocamilla 

40. Cubeo 

41. Gumanangoto 

42. Emerillon 

43. Garipon 

44. Guahibo (no 


45. Guiana area 

46. Island Carib 

1 1 . Jurua-Purus tribes 

47. Juruna 

48. Makii 

49. Mundurucii 

50. Mura 

51. Okaina 

52. Omagua 

53. Oyampi 

54. Pacaquard (sweet 

manioc only) 

55. Palikur 

56. Patamona 

57. Piritu 

58. Resigero 

59. Saliva 

60. Taino (also cotton 

4. Tenetehara 

61. Tucano 

62. Tupinamba (some 


63. Yagua (sweet 

manioc only) 

64. Yameo (sweet 

manioc only) 

Linguistic stocks 



















Arawak, Garib, 

Arawak, Catu- 

kina, Pano 





Saliva - 






244 Men and Cultures 

removed in any one of several simple ways. Some tribes drive it off by heat, 
others by exposure to the sun or fermentation. One or more of these methods is 
practiced by all peoples who use bitter manioc for food. 

In its most evolved form the tipitl occurs as a woven cotton sack among the 
Arawak-speaking Taino of the Greater Antilles (Rouse, 1948, p. 523). The 
precolumbian Taino had of course attained a higher culture level than any of 
the tribes of the tropical forest. It is known, however, that these people reached 
the Antilles from the South American mainland, and it seems probable that they 
took with them a knowledge of the manioc sleeve. 

The tipiti is most frequently found as a basketry cylinder. This form is used 
exclusively in the Guianas and on the lower Orinoco, where speakers of Arawak 
and Carib languages predominate. It is found also among Arawaks and Garibs 
in the Antilles. Tupian peoples both north and south of Marajo island have the 
basketry press, but according to Metraux the tipiti was not widespread among 
the Tupinamba of the eastern coast of Brazil when they were first visited by 
French explorers (M^traux, 1928, p. 104). It is found among many peoples of 
the Arawak, Carib, Tupian, and several smaller language families on the 
middle and upper Amazon and Orinoco rivers. Kirchhoff notes with reference 
to the food-gathering Guahibo and neighboring Ghiricoa that "the older 
sources mention tubes 6 feet (2 m.) long made of flexible cane strips. The 
latter seem to have been similar to the tipiti of horticultural tribes, but the 
Guahibo and Ghiricoa used them to extract oil from the cunama palm fruits 
. . ." (Kirchhoff, pp. 451-452). Both the Guahibo and Ghiricoa inhabit a low- 
land region on the middle Orinoco, where they are surrounded by Arawak 
peoples who have the manioc and tipiti complex. That the highly specialized 
and efficient manioc sleeve should occur without the cultivation of manioc in 
the midst of a primary area of manioc cultivation is anomalous. I shall return 
to this point later. 

The immediate antecedent of the manioc sleeve seems to have been* a long 
flexible sack-like container which is open the entire length of one side. Metraux 
describes such a sack which is used by the Witoto, Yamadidi [Yamamadi?], 
and Cayap6 to remove the juice from manioc pulp by twisting or wringing it. 
As Metraux points out, the sack "requires a certain amount of muscular force, 
indicating that this . . . type of apparatus is much inferior to the . . . [tipiti] " 
(Metraux, 1928, pp. 104, 1 14 1 15). A sack which was "suspended and stretched 
like the tipiti" is reported also for the Gahuapanan tribes at the headwaters of 
the Amazon in Peru (Steward and Metraux, 1948b, p. 609). It should be noted 
in passing that the tribes in which the sack is wrung by hand inhabit the upper 
reaches of tributaries of the Amazon. 

Carrying baskets which are loosely woven of diagonal elements are used 
widely in the tropical forest. These baskets are long and sometimes cylindrical, 
as among the Guahibo on the Orinoco river and the Nambicuara of the upper 
Juruena affluent of the Tapajos river in Mato Grosso. Other cylindrical 
carrying baskets have an open side, the cargo being bound into the basket 
when it is in use. The latter are often made of pinnate palm fronds, which the 
Indians weave diagonally for many purposes. Such baskets may have been 
prototypes for the open sack. 

Additional information about an intermediate form of manioc press among 
the Witoto comes from Whiflfen. Whereas the Bora and some of the other 
neighboring tribes used the tipiti, Whiffen writes "... the Witoto use a long 
web, a rectangular strip about ten inches wide of plaited bark-fibre . . . This 

Techniques for Manioc Flour Preparation as Key to Culture History 245 

they wind around the grated manioc after the manner that puttees are ad- 
justed on the leg. The tighter they twist the pliable web the greater the pressure 
upon the crushed roots, and the juice is thus wrung out of them" (Whiffen, 
pp. 98-99). Among the Shiriana of the upper Negro river, juice is pressed from 
manioc by twisting it in a mat (Mdtraux, 1948a, p. 863). This is the procedure 
used among some of the tribes on the Jurua and Purus rivers also (M6traux, 
1 948b, p. 666) . Among the latter the straining mat is oval instead of rectangular. 

An entirely different kind of mat is used in two isolated areas among the 
Trumai and tribes speaking Arawak, Garib, and Tupian languages in the 
upper Xingu basin of Mato Grosso, 1 and among the Chapacuran-speaking 
Huanyam Indians on the Guapor6 river (Nordenskiold, p. 129). This mat is 
flexible in only one direction, being made by twining together stiff elements 
such as the midribs of palm leaves. Manioc pulp may be squeezed in the mat 
by wringing it or by pressing the pulp against the mat as it lies flat on wooden 
slats over a container. A variation of this type of mat occurs among the Arawak 
Baure near the Guapore (Nordenskiold, p. 129). 

The completely flexible mat of the western Amazon appears to have evolved, 
not from the partly rigid twined mat of the southern tributaries, but from an 
extremely primitive device which is used among various peoples on the periph- 
eries of the tropical forest whose subsistence is based on both collecting and 
horticulture. These peoples are the Ge"-speaking Timbira, Sherente, and North- 
ern Cayapo of the savannas in eastern Brazil, the linguistically isolated Nambi- 
cuara at the headwaters of the Tapajos river, and the Tucanoan Sioni at the 
headwaters of the Putumayo river on the Ecuador-Peruvian border. They 
merely wrap a strip of bast around the manioc pulp to secure it in place while 
it is squeezed or wrung by hand (Lowie, 1946, p. 481; LeVi-Strauss, p. 363; 
Steward, 1948, p. 741). Only slightly more primitive than the use of unwoven 
bast is the use of large leaves as a sheath for the wet pulp. This occurs among 
one Northern Cayapo tribe, the Ghukahamay on the middle Xingu river. 2 

The only difference between wringing the pulp in strips of bast and using a 
"web" or mat is that the latter are woven of the material used in the simpler 
technique. Now, throughout the entire area in which manioc is used, there are 
round or rectangular trays or sieves which are loosely woven of splints or palm 
fronds. These are used by primitive peoples of eastern Brazil to sift pulverized 
seeds of wild plants (Nimuendaju, p. 73). Hence this type of utensil seems to 
have appeared very early in the history of Tropical Forest culture. Among 
some of the fully horticultural peoples, the same type of utensil is used both to 
sift flour and to strain wet manioc pulp. It is a short step to apply the weaving 
technique to the strips of bast and produce a flexible webbing in which the 
pulp may be wrung. The oval mat used in this way among the tribes of 
the Jurud and Purus rivers appears to have resulted from the adaptation of the 
flexible elements to the pattern of the round sieve-trays. The long rectangular 
mats used elsewhere were adaptations of the rectangular sieve-trays. 

One more method completes the sequence of steps in the development of 
the tipiti. This is the squeezing of pulp by hand without any sheath, a method 
which is used by the Carajd of the Araguaya river (Lipkind, p. 182) and the 
Tupian Gajabi, 3 Tapirap6 (Wagley and Galrao, 1948, p. 169), and Tenetehara 
(Wagley and Galrao, 1949, p. 40), the last of whom also use the tipiti. 

The various devices for preparing manioc are not clearly correlated with 
particular language families. It seems to me to be significant, however, that 
most of the Arawak and Carib tribes have the tipitl, and that no member of 

246 Men and Cultures 

these two language families uses the most primitive devices. Very primitive 
devices are found, on the other hand, among some Tupians and peoples of the 
Ge*, Tucanoan, and isolated linguistic stocks. 

Representatives of the various language families are themselves widely 
scattered in the tropical forest. Let us look at the correlation of methods of 
manioc preparation with geographical regions and culture types. The most 
evolved device, the cotton sleeve, was found only among the Arawak Taino, 
who also had the most advanced culture of all the peoples mentioned here. The 
usual type of tipiti is widely distributed except in the southern and eastern part 
of the area of Tropical Forest culture. It is almost entirely restricted, however, 
to lowland areas of true rain forest and to tribes which have well developed 

The distribution of the tipiti is roughly complementary to that of more 
primitive devices which require the use of hands in wringing the pulp. These 
latter devices are notably absent from the entire Orinoco basin, but are found 
at the headwaters of the Amazon and for the most part in the savannas rather 
than in deeply forested areas. Furthermore they occur principally among 
peoples of the Ge* and isolated linguistic stocks, whose horticulture is rudi- 
mentary and among whom hunting forms a significant part of the subsistence 
base. These incipient horticulturalists have been too hastily bracketed with 
the Marginal hunters. It would be more consistent with the traditional use of 
the term "marginal" to regard these peoples as representing a primitive stage 
of the Tropical Forest culture type. 

Some fully horticultural peoples who lack the tipiti inhabit peripheral regions 
where they are surrounded by peoples of incipient horticulture. Such are the 
Arawak, Carib, and Tupian peoples of the upper Xingu region. Theirs may be 
regarded as an intermediate form of the Tropical Forest culture. 

From this survey of the techniques of preparing manioc flour, the following 
inferences may be drawn: (1) The Manioc and tipiti complex appears to have 
developed in the Orinoco basin and the lowland region of the middle and 
lower Amazon. (2) It was taken from there into the Antilles by the Arawaks 
and Caribs, and down the eastern coast of Brazil by speakers of Tupi lan- 
guages. (3) It has been spread toward the headwaters of the Amazon by speakers 
of Arawak, Carib, Tupian, Tucanoan, and Panoan, as well as a few less widely 
represented language stocks. Here it is still in the process of displacing inter- 
mediate and primitive subtypes of the Tropical Forest culture. (4) The absence 
of the tipiti in these outlying areas among peoples who raise manioc suggests 
that the development of manioc cultivation was accompanied by a movement 
of peoples upstream, and that many of them reached the headwaters of the 
Amazon before having an opportunity to participate in the full-fledged Tropical 
Forest culture. (5) The tipiti is thus seen as a relatively recent invention. (Cf. 
M&raux, 1928, p. 104.) 

The distribution of the manioc sleeve raises a question for further investiga- 
tion. As I have pointed out, there is a close positive correlation of manioc 
horticulture with the use of the tipiti in lowland South America. In view of this 
correlation it does not seem unlikely that the rare occurrences of the use of the 
tipiti without manioc may represent a loss of the custom of cultivating manioc. 
Such instances are the use of the tipiti for processing wild food products among 
the Guahibo and Chiricoa of the Orinoco valley. This is an area in which 
distributional evidence indicates that the cultivation of manioc reached a high 
development. We know that the Shocleng of southern Brazil abandoned 

Techniques for Manioc Flour Preparation as Key to Culture History 247 

horticulture when they were driven from their precolumbian homeland 
(Henry, p. 3). The Mura of the middle Amazon and the Guayaqui of Paraguay 
ceased to raise crops and Guajajara horticulture diminished after the Conquest 
(Lowie, 1948, p. 5; Nimuendaju, p. 61). These instances of the loss of a basic 
culture trait suggest that a review of the cultures of contemporary food- 
gathering peoples such as the Yaruro, the Guahibo, and Chiricoa along the 
Orinoco might reveal evidence of deculturation. It may be that these " Marg- 
inal " cultures are not fundamentally primitive but have undergone secondary 
simplification as a result of oppression by advanced horticulturalists or because 
of depletion of soil fertility or both. 

University of Michigan, 
Ann Arbor, Michigan. 


1. Field notes. Grateful acknowledgement is made to the Henry L. and Grace 
Doherty Charitable Foundation, Inc., for support of field work among the upper 
Xingu tribes in 1953-1954. 

2. Field notes. 

3. Field notes. 

Gillin, John 

1948. "Tribes of the Guianas." Handbook of South American Indians, Julian H. Steward 

(Ed.) Bureau of American Ethnology, Bull. 143 : (3) 799-360. 
Goldman, Irving 

1948. "Tribes of the Uaupes-Caqueta Region." Handbook of South American Indians, 

3 : 763-798. 
Henry, Jules 

1941. Jungle People. Locust Valley, J. J. Augustin. 
Hernandez de Alba, Gregorio 

1948. "The Achagua and their Neighbors." Handbook of South American Indians, 

Kirchhoff, Paul 

1 948. * * Food-Gathering Tribes of the Venezuelan Llanos. ' ' Handbook of South American 

Indians, 4 : 445-468. 
L^vi-Strauss, Claude 

1948. "The Nambicuara." Handbook of South American Indians, 3 : 361-369. 
Lipkind, William 

1948. "The Caraja." Handbook of South American Indians, 3 : 179-191. 
Lowie, Robert 

1946. "The Northwestern and Central Ge." Handbook of South American Indians, 

1948. "The Tropical Forests: An Introduction.'* Handbook of South American Indians. 

3 : 1-56. 
Mtetraux, Alfred 

1928. La Civilisation Mattrielle des Tribus Tupi-guarani. Paris, Librairie Orientaliste, 

Paul Geuthner. 
1948. "Tribes of Eastern Bolivia and the Madeira Headwaters." Handbook of South 

American Indians, 3 : 381-454. 
1948. "The Hunting and Gathering Tribes of the Rio Negro Basin." Handbook of 

South American Indians, 3 : 861-867. 
1948. "Tribes of the Jurud-Purus Basin." Handbook of South American Indians^ 

3 : 657-686. 

1948. "Tribes of the Middle and Upper Amazon River." Handbook of South American 
Indians, 3:687-712. 

248 Men and Cultures 

Nimuendaju, Curt 

1946. The Eastern Timbira. University of California Publications in American Archae- 
ology and Ethnology, Vol. 41. 

1948. "The Mura and Piraha." Handbook of South American Indians, 3 : 255-269. 
Nimuendaju, Curt, and Alfred Me"traux 

1948. "The AmanayeV' Handbook of South American Indians, 3 : 199-202. 
Nordenskiold, Erland 

1924. The Ethnography of South America Seen from Mojos in Bolivia. Comparative 

Ethnographical Studies No. 3, Goteborg. 
Rondon, Candido Mariano da Silva 

1947. Histdria Natural: Etnografia. Conselho Nacional de aos Indios 
Publication No. 2. 

Rouse, Irving 

1948. "The Arawak." Handbook of South American Indians, 4 : 507-546. 
1948. "The Carib." Handbook of South American Indians, 4 : 547-565. 

Steward, Julian 

1948. "Western Tucanoan Tribes." Handbook of South American Indians, 3 : 737-748. 

1948. "The Witotoan Tribes." Handbook of South American Indians, 3 : 749-762. 
Steward, Julian, and Alfred Mtraux 

1948. "The Peban Tribes." Handbook of South American Indians, 3 : 727-736. 

1948. "Tribes of the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Montana." Handbook of South 

American Indians, 3 : 535-656. 
Wagley, Charles, and Eduardo Galvao 

1948. "The Tapirape." Handbook of South American Indians, 3 : 167-178. 

1949. The Tenetehara Indians of Brazil. New York, Columbia University Press. 
Whiffen, Thomas 

1915. The North-West Amazons. London, Constable and Company, Ltd. 


Ethel Cutler Freeman 

The factors and processes that make for stability or change within cultures are 
of increasing concern to nations as well as to anthropologists and sociologists 
as our Western culture encroaches ever more heavily upon the domain of the 
primitive peoples of the world. It is to the advantage of any nation to divine 
the ways by which minorities adjust their customs, beliefs and ideologies to 
accommodate to the dominant civilization. Lessons learned in the study of one 
group may be applied to minimize tensions and conflicts among other groups. 

The Seminole Indians of Florida qualify admirably as subjects for such a 
study. This isolated and encysted society has been forced suddenly into economic 
and political contact with an abhorred dominant civilization. 

I have known these Indians since 1928, which was the beginning of their 
first continuous contact with the white man. I have lived among them in the 
heart of the Everglades for part of every winter for the last eighteen years. My 
personal observations of Seminole society in flux may shed light on the problems 
of these and other primitive people. 

This paper will sketch the major mechanisms by which our impinging white 
civilization has contributed to disequilibrium of Seminole culture by inter- 
fering with the functioning of that minority's institutions. Special emphasis 
will be placed upon the role of dynamic individuals as influences on both cul- 
tural stability and change. It is the thesis of this paper that prerequisites of 
culture change lie within the culture itself and that when the culture is out of 
equilibrium a powerful personality, usually frustrated, acts as a direct stimulus. 
By that I do not mean that there are not other stimuli as well. 

A longer paper, with detailed ethnographical data, will be available to 
interested persons. 

Today 918 Seminoles are the only Indians in Florida. They belong to the 
Southeast Woodland culture group, with customs and social organization 
resembling that of the Greeks, Ghoctaws, Gherokees and Yuchis. Social struc- 
ture follows the Crow pattern with functioning clans. 

Originally the Seminoles belonged to the Mickasuki and Muscogee tribes 
of the Greek Confederacy of Alabama and Georgia. Hard-pressed by European 
colonizers in the later 17th and early 18th centuries, they migrated into 
Florida and were joined by remnants of other tribes. 

During the Seminole Wars of the last century the United States Army killed, 
or captured and sent west, most of the estimated 1 1 ,000 Seminoles that had 
roamed over Florida. The Seminoles of today are the descendants of about 200 
who escaped and fled into the Everglades. 

In 1775 these two tribes were recognized as one people, "The Seminoles of 
Florida," and the United States has dealt with them as a political unit ever 
since in spite of their protests. The Muscogees, now called Cow-Greeks, and 
the Mickasukis, known today as the Big Cypress Seminoles, are traditionally 

250 Men and Cultures 

antagonistic bands. Their basic culture is similar but their languages are not 
mutually understandable. Their ideologies have been antipathetic and trouble 
has arisen on face-to-face contact throughout the years. The first portent of 
possible future unity occurred three years ago when they joined political forces 
to sue the Federal Government. 

The Seminoles live on three Federal Reservations in south Florida and also 
as squatters on white-owned land. 

The Big Cypress account for two-thirds of the Seminoles, the Cow-Greeks 
for one-third. As the pressures from the dominant society increased, the two 
historically separate bands began to divide and realign themselves. 

About 1937, the Big Cypress split into two groups. One group lives on the 
isolated Big Cypress Reservation in the Everglades. Another group camped 
along the Tamiami Trail, that highway built across the Everglades in 1928. 
Surprisingly, the isolated Big Cypress have become the most progressive Semi- 
noles. The "Trail Big Cypress," who live close to Miami and civilization, have 
repudiated their "Reservation" brethren and formed a nativistic band. 

Recently three schisms have developed among these "Trail Big Cypress." 
A pluralistic faction has broken away from the ultra-conservatives, while a small 
band of assimilationists has been ejected from the nativistic band. 

Cow Creeks, about 200 strong, live on and around the Brighton Reservation 
northwest of Lake Okeechobee near white towns. Other Seminoles of both 
bands live on the small Dania Reservation on the east coast near Miami. 

Untrammeled independence and the wish to be a unique people apart is the 
key-note of Big Cypress ideology. The Cow-Creeks have no such definite goals. 
They do not reject the outsider. Some of the women have children by white or 
Negro fathers. In the War of 1812 they joined the Creeks and Americans 
against the other Seminoles. 

This variation in ethos explains to a great extent the friction that has existed 
between the two bands. Their stereotypes of one another reflect their differing 
ideologies. The Cow-Creeks think of the Big Cypress as "disdainful egoists," 
while the Big Cypress consider the Cow-Creeks to be "lazy appeasers." 

An analysis of Seminole history falls into four periods: a long period of 
comparative stability melted into one of subtle economic changes. This was 
followed by a hectic decade in which dynamic individuals were the direct 
stimulus for profound changes that culminated, during the last period, in a 
reorganization of Seminole society to meet today's challenges. 

PERIOD 1 FROM 1700 TO 1928 

In spite of migrations and wars Seminole institutions continued to function, 
so this era was one of comparative stability for both bands. Isolation and an 
enduring subsistence pattern were the principal stabilizing factors. Among the 
Big Cypress, non-conformists and dynamic personalities advocating change 
were killed, and laws against miscegenation were strictly enforced. The Cow- 
Creeks were more lenient, and an admixture of Negro and white is evident 

PERIOD 2 FROM 1928 TO 1940 

Slow economic change in a restricted area developed cultural voids and 
created unrest. The Seminoles could no longer live off the country and were 

Culture Stability and Change among the Seminoles of Florida 251 

forced into a money economy. They developed a handicrafts industry and 
marketed their produce to tourists on the Tamiami Trail. A growing number of 
"Trail Big Cypress 55 found they could preserve their independence with 
income derived from this source. 

The rapid development of south Florida by the white man gave the Big 
Cypress Seminoles a great fear of the encroaching "foreigners. 55 They refused 
white education offered by the government and resented its acceptance by the 
Cow-Creeks. Soon after, however, they gained assurance through the intro- 
duction by the government of a successful cattle program which began to edu- 
cate the Seminoles in the ways of the white business world. 

The moral disintegration of Tiger Tigertail, the most powerful Big Cypress 
medicine man, was a disturbing factor. As leader of the Big Cypress Green Corn 
Dance, their major social control, and as keeper of the Sacred Medicine Bundle, 
Tiger's character was of utmost importance. He was often drunk and violent 
and committed crimes. Tiger finally was ostracized and threatened with death 
by the Big Cypress Trail Seminoles and went to live at the Big Cypress Reser- 
vation. All the Indians believed that Tiger had originally influenced the super- 
natural to protect them. Now that he was evil they suffered from a terrifying sense 
of insecurity. Eventually the Big Cypress realized that their mounting feelings of 
frustration were due to the undermining of their beliefs and way of life. 

Medicine, magic and religion did not play as important a part in Cow-Creek 
life. Their medicine-man practiced as usual, but they made no strong attempts 
to preserve their way of life. Intermarriage with diversified outgroups may have 
been a factor that impeded a unified objective. 

PERIOD 3 FROM 1940 TO 1950 

Voids in Seminole culture set the stage for change in the foregoing period. 
Changing economy and ecology in which dynamic individuals acted as direct 
stimuli to both stability and change mark this decade. 

Tiger Tigertail led the Reservation Big Cypress to accept Christianity. His 
younger brother, John, started a nativistic movement among the Trail Big 
Cypress in an attempt to preserve Seminole culture. 

White civilization directly affected Seminole life. The Indians' fear of 
deportation became acute when they realized that their reservation lands were 
coveted for crops and mineral rights. 

World War II created new economic conditions. Gas rationing cut off the 
tourist trade. But farmers welcomed Seminoles when white laborers went to 
war. The Indians dictated the conditions under which they would work. 
Kinfolk groups picked and planted crops for white ranchers. Isolated from 
foreign contact and working under their Head-men, they followed their clan 
system of food gathering of the early days. The Big Cypress Trail Seminoles 
developed a wholesale frogging industry patterned on the same cultural 

Christianity was introduced on the Big Cypress and Cow-Creek Reservations 
but the Trail Big Cypress headed by their Council and Medicine-men would 
have none of it. In 1937 many of the Trail Big Cypress had gone to the Big 
Cypress Reservation because they did not belong to the clans which could 
inherit official positions or status. Status could no longer be gained by war and 
hunting prowess. The acceptance of Christianity gave these Seminole prestige. 
Church positions became goals for the ambitious. 

252 Men and Cultures 

One Sunday when the heads of the Oklahoma Southern Baptist Church 
were at the Big Cypress Reservation Tiger Tigertail suddenly asked to be 
baptized. He directly stimulated the acceptance of Christianity for 22 of his 
people and their families followed his lead. Thus Tiger again had spiritual and 
political authority. Tiger was a reformed man and doubtless unconscious of 
any ulterior motive in his conversion. 

Christianity as interpreted by the Southern Baptists caused a speedy change 
in social and political organization. The Green Corn Dance, the legal, social 
and religious ceremony that ushers in both the symbolic and calendar New 
Year, was made taboo to converts. Church members were told to ignore the 
Seminole Council and to accept Church dictates instead. 

This led to a definite split between the Reservation Big Cypress controlled 
by the Church and the Trail Big Cypress ruled by their old government. 

When Tiger Tigertail was ostracized from the Trail group the sacred 
Medicine Bundle and leadership of the Green Corn Dance was given to John 
Tigertail. John also was a purposeful and strong character. He determined to 
preserve the old religion and customs and so precipitated an active nativistic 

The Cow-Creeks took no part in the altercation among the Big Cypress. It 
was not until the next period that some of the Cow-Creeks casually decided to 
accept Christianity. Others held to their old beliefs, but this difference in 
religion did not creat a ripple of disturbance among them. 


While the third period was essentially one of economic, social and religious 
conflict sparked by two powerful personalities, the fourth period is one of 
political change and reorganization. 

A large monetary settlement made to the Ute Indians for lands taken from 
them by the United States Government inspired the Reservation Big Cypress 
and Cow-Creeks to join forces at last, as the "Reservation Seminoles," and 
claim $50 million for their lost land. In contrast, the Trail Big Cypress an- 
nounced they would accept no money if it were awarded them. They felt that 
an award from the Federal Government would buy them, and they would no 
longer be a "sovereign nation. " The claim has not yet been settled. 

A bill popularly known as "The Termination Bill" was responsible for a 
further development in Seminole political organization. This bill included the 
illiterate, non-English-speaking Seminoles of Florida among the eleven tribes 
that were said to be so acculturated that their reservations were to be taxed 
and all government health, welfare, and educational services ended. The 
Seminole Bill was opposed so strongly by Indian welfare organizations that it 
never came to a vote. However, the realization that they could lose their 
reservations through lack of income to pay taxes frightened the Seminoles into 
more effective unity. They organized a twelve-member committee from the 
three reservations to represent them in dealings with the United States Gover- 
ment. The Reservation Seminoles and the Trail Big Cypress became even more 
estranged when the latter refused membership on the committee or any 
dealings with "Washington." 

In accordance with the United States Government's recent policy of Indian 
assimilation and the eventual abolishment of the Indian Office, the enforcement 
of law and order on reservations has been transferred from Federal to State 

Culture Stability and Change among the Seminoles of Florida 253 

jurisdiction. Under Federal control Seminole law prevailed, even in criminal 
cases between Indians. The State has interfered with the functioning of Semi- 
nole social and clan organization. Recently Florida authorities took from her 
kin group, to whom Seminole custom gives them, the children of a woman who 
died, and awarded them to the father as their legal guardian. This may have 
far-reaching consequences. Now that children are economic liabilities instead 
of assets, this break in tribal law may bring about a situation where neither clan 
group feels responsible. 

Education has been partially transferred from Federal to State agencies. The 
Indian school on the Brighton Reservation is closed. The children are taken 
from their homes early in the morning, transported fifty miles to a public 
school and returned at bed-time. The Seminole woman's responsibility for the 
continuity of the culture cycle and the molding of Seminole personality is being 
taken from her. 

Many old customs still carry on in all groups. Most Seminoles still live in 
open-sided huts much as their ancestors did. The amassing of material goods 
by an individual is still frowned upon. Ideally, no man or clan has more prestige 
than another. Land is communally owned. 

Patterned story-telling has perpetuated an active fear of the white man. 
This mechanism tends to maintain old customs, laws, religion, and an isolation- 
ist point of view. Day labor and the dispersal of people over a larger area has 
contributed to the disappearance of patterned story-telling among the Cow- 
Creek and Big Cypress Reservation Indians. But the old traditions are kept 
alive in this way among the Trail Big Cypress. 

We have seen how the conciliatory Cow-Creeks and a portion of the Big 
Cypress have united under the pressures of an impinging society as progressive 
"Reservation Seminoles." 

It is illuminating that the three-way split that took place among the Trail 
Big Cypress three years ago now portends a greater unity. The "Big Cypress 
Moderates," who could not go along with the fanatical nativistic program of 
the faction still known as the "Trail Big Cypress Seminoles," show the greatest 
promise of realigning themselves with their reservation kinfolk. Both have 
accepted the concept of compromise as a means of keeping institutions function- 

The "Reservation Seminoles," the "Trail Moderates," and the nativistic 
"Trail Big Cypress," all are trying to preserve their culture. This common 
goal, however varied in degree, may serve to unify them. Only the few "Big 
Cypress Assimilationists," led by a frustrated young Seminole, want a funda- 
mental cultural change. The passing of John and Tiger Tigertail would make 
reconciliation easier between the Big Cypress groups. 

These four periods of Seminole history demonstrate some basic facts. As in 
many peripheral societies, isolation is one of the reasons for cultural stability. 
An impinging civilization creates voids and needs within a minority. Adapta- 
tions and compromises may be more effective in preserving a culture than 
unyielding resistance. Also, when the time is ripe, dynamic individuals are the 
direct stimuli for change. 

A continued study of culture stability and change among the Seminoles 
will give further clues to the laws of institutional and ideological change. 

Note: Since all cultures are in a state of change, rapid or slow, a stable culture here 
refers to one in equilibrium, one that exhibits over a period of time and throughout the 

254 Men and Cultures 

culture area a continuity of pattern which shows little deviation from the earlier pattern 
in content or tempo. In other words, a terse definition of a stable culture would be one 
that changes slowly in time, space, extent, and speed. 

Also the term "dynamic individual" is used to express an effective person, one who 
produces results, a purposeful leader. 

Names are typically Seminole but do not refer to any actual or living persons. 

New Jersey. 


Irving Goldman 

In a previous paper 1 I presented the theory that rivalry for social status had 
given impetus to and had set the course for the main lines of cultural evolution 
in Polynesia. The thesis, briefly, was as follows : All Polynesian societies can be 
grouped into one of three systems regulating social status. I labelled these 
"Traditional," "Open," and "Stratified." The traditional (Ontong Java, 
Tokelau, Tikopia, Pukapuka, Manihiki-Rakahanga, Maori, Tongareva, 
Futuna, Uvea, Manua) stressed seniority of descent as the primary criterion of 
status a few were moving from age to descent seniority. Where age was the 
criterion, social distinctions tended to be minor; and where seniority ruled, 
status distinctions were both finely graded and more important. In either case, 
the rewards of high status were mainly prestige and privilege but very little 
power. Status mobility was low. The open (Niue, Easter, Mangaia, Marquesas) 
stressed military and political prowess. Here, status differences were more 
sharply defined, and the rewards of status included power along with prestige 
and privilege. Status loomed larger on the social scene and status mobility was 
very high. The stratified (Tonga, Mangareva, Tahiti, Hawaii) emphasized 
clear-cut distinctions between landed and landless ; social status was of major 
importance and its rewards, as in the open, were power together with privilege 
and prestige. Status mobility was high among the landed and low among the 
landless. All three status systems shared a common respect for aristocratic 
lineages. The aristocracy, primary in the traditional, was pushed into the back- 
ground in the open to reappear with new powers and privileges in the stratified. 
Comparative analysis of the three status systems led to the conclusion that 
they were variants of a common type, represented by the traditional societies 
that is, the open had developed out of tendencies inherent in the traditional, 
and the stratified had developed out of tendencies in the open. In short, an evolu- 
tionary sequence, traditional to open to stratified, was indicated. Evidence sup- 
porting this conclusion was : 

1. The overlapping or intergrading of the three status systems. 

2. The approximate overlapping and intergrading of each of eighteen main 
Polynesian societies along a scale that may be called " politicalization of 
status," indicating that the main line of status evolution led from rank and 
prestige to class and power. 

3. The presence of all three status types in each Polynesian subarea, indi- 
cating a developmental tendency independent of locally diffused culture traits. 

4. The testimony of Polynesian genealogical traditions. By and large, these 
attested to an "open" phase in the stratified societies and to a "traditional" 
phase in the open societies. On chronology, the traditions point generally to the 
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries as the eras of major social changes. 

Most important was the finding that the three status systems correlated 
surprisingly well with significant differences in virtually every other realm of 

256 Men and Cultures 

culture. This finding gave confidence to the conclusion that it was changes in 
status systems that had brought in their wake cultural transformations in kin- 
ship, economy, social organization, government, religion, warfare, morality, 
and ethos. These changes were adaptations to new criteria for status. Status 
rivalry then, inherent in Polynesian definitions of status, was virtually a self- 
propelling system, but not, needless to say, an exclusive determinant of change. 

In the present paper, I hope to show some of the specific ways in which 
status rivalry interacted with other determinants of cultural change, and to 
call attention at the same time to some general implications for evolutionary 
theory of the Polynesian data. 

The first general implication is for comparative method, an integral aspect 
of evolutionary theory. Here, the suggestion is that it is in culture areas rather 
than among selected individual societies that we find the most suitable units 
for comparison. In the culture area we deal directly and concretely with varia- 
tions among historically-linked lines. Such variations leading to the appearance 
of new forms are the central concern of evolutionary theory. As the Polynesian 
study has shown, variations can be classified into types, the types can be corre- 
lated with other cultural features, and comparative analysis, supported by 
archeology and by traditions where available, can reveal direction of change. 
Moreover, the culture area safeguards the vital principle of historical relativism 
in cultural comparisons. 

The use of the culture area as the unit of comparison will require new com- 
parative methods in order to give more general scope to otherwise limited 
historical theories. With respect to Polynesia, two kinds of extended compara- 
tive study suggest themselves. The first and most obvious is to relate the Poly- 
nesian findings to the Malayo-Polynesian area as a whole. The linking of 
Polynesia with Micronesia, Melanesia, and Malaysia would span wide cultural 
variations among horticultural peoples. The second, going outside the area, 
would compare processes with those in other culture areas sharing similar 
institutions. Along these lines, a promising approach is to compare Polynesia 
with early urban societies in the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and the New 
World, as well as with primitive states in Africa. In these areas, as in Poly- 
nesia, we observe the presence of hereditary aristocracies, the emerging power 
of warrior chiefs, intense status rivalry, economic stratification, administrative 
bureaucracies, forms of private property, feudatory relations, loosening of 
kinship bonds, organized priesthoods, territorial conquest, and so on. Such 
comparisons would constitute further testing of the status-rivalry hypothesis. 

The hypothesis that status rivalry plays a primary role in cultural evolution 
is the most pointed implication of the Polynesian study. In anthropology we 
have yet to explore fully the cultural significance of status rivalry or of different 
status systems. We have yet in fact to establish a general classification of status 
systems. On this score, too, the Polynesian material is suggestive because it 
includes the primary elements for a general classification of status systems. The 
primary elements consist of four main criteria of status : age, prowess, descent, 
and wealth, and three main prerogatives of status prestige, privilege, and 
power. Various combinations of these define a basic status system. On the 
strength of the Polynesian data we might expect the combination of wealth 
with power to be the most potent force for cultural change, whereas the com- 
bination of age and prestige would be a feeble one. 

By bringing forward status rivalry as a major force in cultural evolution, I 
wish to suggest new lines of research rather than to introduce another monistic 

The Evolution of Status Systems in Polynesia 257 

determinant of cultural change. The point that cultural causality is multiple 
and complex need hardly be labored. In the following examples, drawn from 
the Polynesian data, the interaction is brought out between status rivalry 
and such other major determinants of cultural change as physical environment, 
demography, economy, warfare, migrations and diffusion. 


The most significant feature, in this respect, is the fact that Polynesia is an 
island area. Much can be said about distinctions between island areas and 
continuous land masses as they affect culture change. For present purposes, it is 
sufficient to mention two : the inelasticity of island land boundaries that must 
inevitably intensify the pressure of population upon resources, and the relative 
isolation of islands. On the first point, we can say that land pressure and status 
rivalry intensify each other. Relative isolation means that diffusion acts slowly 
and is unlikely, therefore, to interfere markedly with a pattern of development. 
For these reasons, island habitats are unusually valuable subjects for evolu- 
tionary study. 

Ecologists distinguish between low coral atolls, relatively unpromising for 
horticulture, and the larger and structurally more diversified high islands, 
with their greater suitability for root horticulture. As is well known, the atolls 
supported only the simpler island cultures, and the high islands the more 
complex. In terms of the present study, all the atolls were traditional societies, 
while the high islands, as we would expect from the familiar dictum that 
environment limits but does not create, supported all three status systems. 
Sir Peter Buck's observation that the poverty of the atolls limited the growth of 
ceremonialism is amply demonstrated by the data. However and this point 
needs to be strongly emphasized neither smallness of size nor relative poverty 
of resources alone impeded the evolution of basic structural features of economy, 
social organization and government. 

In this connection, the example of Mangareva is most instructive. A small 
and often famine-ridden almost-atoll, Mangareva had developed a stratified 
society comparable in its main lines to that of Tahiti. Mangarevan ceremonial- 
ism was stunted, but from an evolutionary point of view, ceremonialism may 
be merely a side issue. 

The limitations the atolls imposed upon cultural development may have 
been due rather to two other conditions, their atypical features that attracted 
mainly the humbler colonists, and their relatively undiversified terrain. On the 
high islands, by contrast, the scattered distribution of fertile soils gave added 
advantage to groups fortunate enough to possess them, and paved the 
way, where the incentive was present, for political domination of weaker 

Habitat as a variable is most significant when it differentiates between 
societies of the same type, that share basic motivations. In Polynesia, this is 
illustrated by the different ways in which each of the three main status systems 
dealt with common problems of scarcity and of relative abundance. The 
traditional societies on the atolls met scarcity by establishing community reserves 
of taro beds or coconut groves. The open societies emphasized the facts of econo- 
mic inequality. There, the well-to-do and the strong looked after the needy 
who were willing to accept subordinate and servile status. In Mangareva, the 
only example of a stratified society with scarcity, the strong pushed the weak 


258 Men and Cultures 

off the land altogether; the lower class became fishermen. Comparing Man- 
gareva with the other stratified societies, we can see how its distinctive character- 
istics such as barren ceremonialism, more violent internecine strife, greater 
political instability, and the inability to provide place on the land for the 
commoners were all reflections of its relative poverty. 

While scarcity can be defined biologically, terms such as surplus or abun- 
dance have cultural meanings only. Thus, in Manua, a traditional society, the 
ready availability of virgin land muted economic competition and fostered 
relatively high status mobility. Quite another example is provided by the 
Hawaiian Islands (stratified). There, rival chiefs and tribes fought to annex new 
territories even though aboriginal population density if the figures are reason- 
ably correct did not exceed 47 per square mile. In non-warlike Manua it was 
117 and in eminently peaceable Tikopia 400. With land and resources as sym- 
bols of status and as sources of power, the stratified societies and the open societies 
felt land hunger keenly, regardless of the so-called objective situation. 


All three status systems were represented among islands with varying popu- 
lation size. Population size, therefore, was not decisive in shaping basic struc- 
tural features. Population correlated, however, with ceremonialism and with 
growth of craft specialization. Average population densities did not differ 
much between traditional and stratified societies, but were lower if the figures 
are correct among the open societies. Lower population density may have been 
due to the poorer resources of Niue, Easter, Mangaia and the Marquesas, 
as well as to the related handicaps of political instability and chronic war- 

It was with local distributions of population that considerations of social 
status were actively involved. Fundamentally, population followed the dis- 
tribution of natural resources, being most dense in fertile areas and least dense 
in unpromising areas; but this clear ecological relationship must be con- 
sidered along with examples such as these: In land-abundant New Zealand, 
junior lines escaped commoner status by starting a new community. Thus, 
where there was no economic compulsion to move, status supplied the motive. 
In the land-abundant Hawaiian Islands, on the other hand, high chiefs regu- 
lated land occupancy according to their own political interests. This would 
account for the fact that some valleys were intensively cultivated with terracing 
and irrigation virtually to the mountain peaks, while in others only the fertile 
zones were developed. 

Even more striking was the relationship between status systems and the social 
distribution of population whether by villages or by dispersed settlements. 
Except for Tongareva, the traditional societies were organized in villages; the 
stratified societies in dispersed communities ; and the open societies were divided, 
with villages in Niue, and perhaps in Easter, and none in Mangaia or the 
Marquesas. Villages reflected the more democratic and less power-centered 
political systems of the traditional societies, whereas the dispersed settlements 
corresponded to the grouping of peoples around the estates of leading chiefs. 
The Tongarevan exception seems due, in fact, to the decline of traditional 
authority and the necessity, therefore, to guard coconut groves against pillage 
and theft. 

The Evolution of Status Systems in Polynesia 259 


The system of land ownership was the economic factor most intimately and 
decisively involved in Polynesian cultural evolution. Thus, the transformation 
of kinship-based land systems into feudatory and quasi-private property rela- 
tions became a governing feature of the stratified societies. By contrast, tech- 
nology, modes of subsistence, specialization of labor and trade were of minor 
significance. Regardless of social system, Polynesians shared common technical 
skills, providing that they possessed the necessary materials such as wood and 
stone. The most elaborate irrigation systems, to be sure, were in the two most 
developed political systems, Tahiti and Hawaii. On those islands, the evidence 
suggests, political exigencies provided both motive and organization for large 
scale public works needed for intensive cultivation. As for subsistence modes, 
reliance upon the coconut seems to have been a meager basis for cultural 
development compared with root horticulture or the cultivation of breadfruit. 
The coconut was the principal cultivation on the atolls. 

The view of craft specialization as a by-product of economic "surplus" 
needs to be reconsidered in the light of the Polynesian data. Among many 
conditions stimulating craft specialization, the most important were considera- 
tions of social status. Specialization gave high social standing in all Polynesian 
societies, and so we find the stratified societies multiplying specialists, i.e., 
honorific titles, beyond administrative and economic requirements. Hawaii 
was a prime example. Socially fostered scarcity was another condition that 
stimulated craft specialization. In Mangaia, for example, the vanquished and 
dispossessed had to rely on craft skills for sustenance. In both the open and the 
stratified societies craft skills often were either avenues to status or an economic 
refuge for the landless. 


Warfare had multiple causes but tended to come strongly under the influence 
of status rivalry. When it did, it became a principal instrument of culture 
change. Wars toppled the traditional lines of authority, gave power to new 
social elements, ruptured kinship ties, rearranged boundaries, sharpened social 
cleavages by hardening the line between weak and strong and by placing a 
premium upon violence. Social stratification and statelike political systems 
were installed through this complex process rather than by simple conquest 
of one ethnic group by another. 


The thesis of this study that all Polynesian societies were basically variants 
evolved from a common underlying Polynesian culture does not necessarily 
contravene the carefully established facts of diffusion and migration. Migra- 
tions carried cultural developments forward to other islands and diffusion 
transported traits from all parts of the Pacific basin. But such movements 
affected only cultural details and not the main lines of evolution. This can be 
deduced from the observation that almost every principal structural feature of 
the stratified societies had its forebears among the traditional societies. In many 
cases the transformation can be traced step by step. Two transforming processes 
were at work, intensification and readaptation. Intensification means simply 
that traits weakly developed in the traditional societies became more emphatic 

260 Men and Cultures 

in the stratified. Examples include: caste, tabus on women, violence in mourning, 
prevalence of warfare, cruelty in combat, the use of force, sorcery, and of 
course inequalities in prestige, privilege, and power. Readaptation was the more 
complex process by which traditional practices and forms were turned to new 
uses as the total cultural pattern changed and established new contexts. These 
are examples of readaptation: formal tributary payments to chiefs were 
readaptations of first fruit offerings; feudatory relationships were a readaptation 
of the traditional paternalism of Polynesian lineage heads to new social and 
economic conditions; stratification was a readaptation of graded rank to class 
after the status emphasis had shifted from control over products to control over 
basic resources; and in centralized political authority over a territorial unit we 
see the readaptation of traditional political and economic powers of tribal 
chiefs to new conditions resulting from both military conquest and the pro- 
gressive weakening of kinship ties. Finally, the emergence of private property 
is best illustrated in the Marquesas where chiefs who had been stewards over 
tribal lands asserted themselves as landlords. The prevailing conditions of an 
open society, in effect a transitional society, made such an assertion both 
possible and real. 

Sarah Lawrence College, 
Bronxville, New York. 


1. Goldman, I., "Status Rivalry and Cultural Evolution in Polynesia," American 
Anthropologist, 57 : 680-697, August, 1955. Consult for bibliography. 





Jean Guiart 

Dans les limites trop braves du temps imparti, je voudrais esquisser les grandes 
lignes de 1'evolution de deux soci6te*s melanesiennes que je connais particuli&re- 
ment bien, celle de Nouvelle-Caledonie et celle des Nouvelles-H^brides. Je 
procederai d'abord, pour Tune et 1'autre, par un rappel des principaux Elements 
de la structure politique traditionnelle. 

Aux Nouvelles-Hebrides, constitute a 1'image de 1'habitat, la Soci6te est 
caract&isee par une extreme dispersion: petits groupements d'agriculteurs 
rassembles dans des villages qui ont peine a depasser cinquante habitants. Sur 
le terrain le groupe humain se definit par le barriere ext^rieure qui isole le 
village des cochons domestiques laisse*s en liberte, par une place de danse 
ombrag^e de banyans, et souvent par des grands tambours de bois creux, 
sculptes d'un visage humain a leur sommet, tambours plantes en terre par 
groupe ou pose's meme le sol. Un peu sur le cote* et parfois meme tout a fait 
en retrait, prot6g6 par des barri&res qui Pisolent du contact avec le monde 
impur des femmes, une case de belles dimensions est reserved aux hommes, 
celibataires ou mari^s. G'est la qu'ils viennent fumer, manger et causer entre eux, 
dormir, meme s'ils sont maries, boire le kava et dans certains districts participer 
a des liaisons amoureuses homo-sexuelles. 

L'elevage du cochon pourrait presque permettre de d^finir une civilisation 
no-he*bridaise. Les canines sup&ieures des betes leur sont enleve*es au bout de 
quelques mois, afin de permettre aux canines inferieures de croitre sans s'user 
sur les dents du dessus ; elles poussent alors en spirale plus ou moins ouverte sur 
1'exterieur. Ge sont ces defenses, dont la course peut arriver a effectuer bien 
plus d'un tour complet, qui d^finissent la valeur de la bete; chaque niveau de la 
courbe est afFecte d'un terme descriptif permettant un concept de la hi6rarchie 
des valeurs. Ges cochons sont alors utilises comme une veritable monnaie, 
presque au sens occidental de ce terme. En effet, non seulement ils servent ^ 
des usages c&remoniels, mais ils permettent de payer des travailleurs; ils sont 
^changes contre des objets de valeur (nattes, colorants, &6ments de vtement 
ou de la parure), des femmes, sinon m^me parfois du terrain. Ils constituent 
^ventuellement le prix du sang pour un meurtre, ou la reparation d'une 
offense. On les utilisera pour r^mun^rer 1'ceuvre d'un sculpteur, ou acheter le 
droit de participer a une c^r^monie. Gomme la plupart des gens ne disposent 
pas d'assez de cochons pour ce genre de besoins, ils s'adressent aux gros 61eveurs 
qui leur pretent les betes n^cessaires. Ils devront alors dans chaque cas reiidre 
un cochon dont les defenses auront cru de la longueur correspondant au niveau 

262 Men and Cultures 

qu'auraient du atteindre les defenses de la bete emprunte'e, en plus d'une 
certaine longueur a debattre au titre d'int&ret. On devine la complexity des 
contrats oraux auxquels donnent lieu de telles tractations. 

C'est la reunion des hommes a 1'interieur de leur grande case, dite nagamal, 
qui constitue le corps social. Le pouvoir de decision y appartient aux plus vieux 
et parmi ces derniers les gros eleveurs sont ceux dont la parole a le plus de poids. 
Pourtant, Poriginalite hebridaise reside non dans ce role prominent de Page 
et de la richesse, mais dans les modalite's de son organisation. Du point de vue 
formel en effet, 1'organisation politique revet Papparence d'un syst&me ordonne. 
Au clivage vertical par la separation des sexes s'ajoute, dans la socie"te* mascu- 
line, une organisation par couches horizontales, suivant une hierarchic bien 
definie de grades qu'il faut acquerir successivement au cours de la vie: la 
possession des plus hauts grades procurant prestige et puissance politique. 

Les ceremonies de prise de grades constituent la partie publique des rituels 
particuliers de la socie*te des hommes; ces grades s'acqui&rent au cours de 
ceremonies auxquelles femmes et enfants peuvent assister, les premieres eVitant 
de trop s'approcher. Un monument plante", pierre ou statue, a chaque fois 
different, en est le symbole, et le paiement en cochons de ce dernier, marque a 
la fois la fin et le sommet du rituel. Un element essentiel de la ceremonie est 
le sacrifice d'une bete de prix, que Pimpetrant assomme en proclamant a haute 
voix le nouveau nom auquel il a droit, son titre precedent ne pouvant plus 
etre prononce sans injure personnelle entrainant le sacrifice d'une bete pour 

II y a de quatre a douze grades, suivant les districts, sinon meme suivant 
les villages, et 1'organisation porte le plus souvent des variantes phonetiques de 
son nom en bichelamar: namangi. La rgle principale du systeme, rgle qui 
prend effet des le premier grade, est de ne pas manger de nourriture prepare 
par les femmes: if faut faire sa propre cuisine. Cette clause embarrassante se 
voit souvent resolue aux grades inferieurs par la vie en commun des gens de 
meme grade. Le nouveau promu peut participer au feu de ses collogues moyen- 
nant le don d'un petit cochon ou d'une natte. La chose est d'ailleurs parfois 
facilitee par le fait que certains grades differents peuvent se regrouper pour 
participer a un meme feu. 

Ce principe, absolu sauf lors d'exceptions rituelles bien definies et rares, 
s'applique a tous les aspects de la vie quotidienne. Ceux qui ne peuvent manger 
ensemble, ne peuvent ni s'asseoir au meme endroit, ni au mme niveau a 
Pinterieur du nagamal separe en compartiments, ni utiliser les memes instru- 
ments. Excepte les tout premiers, dont les representants peuvent encore manger 
ce que fournissent au lieu de le cuire les femmes, les grades ou les categories 
de grades ont chacun leurs arbres fruitiers taboues, leurs coins de jardin et 
leur marque qui, gravee sur un arbre, en interdit les fruits a tout autre que le 

II en est de meme en ce qui concerne les peintures rituelles ou rornementation 
vegetale (feuilles ou fleurs) utilisee en grand pour la parure masculine. Chaque 
grade disposera d'un motif particulier a dessiner sur son visage avec des pig- 
ments vegetaux, d'une fleur particuliere a se piquer dans les cheveux a un 
emplacement determine, et de feuilles aux couleurs vives a glisser dans la 
ceinture a 1'aplomb du pli fessier. 

Un echo de cette hierarchic se retrouve dans la societe des femmes, oi les 
epouses de certains dignitaires ont droit, apres paiement, au privilege du port 
de jupes teintes en rouge par exemple, ou de bracelets de coquillage. 

Les Tendances Modernes de PE volution des Socie*tes Me*lanesiennes 263 

Nous venous de voir que le role de Pindividu e*tait subordonne a son rang 
dans le Nimangi. Gette organisation semble donner a chacun ses chances d'ac- 
querir, grade apres grade, la suprematie politique a Pint&ieur du village; 
cette monte'e dans la hierarchic etant fonction de la richesse de Pindividu, on 
pourrait y voir un systeme ploutocratique se renouvelant par la base, les 
individus les plus capables arrivant toujours au sommet. Mais il n'est pas 
niable que Pelevage et le commerce de cochons soient un des principaux moteurs 
du systeme. Parvenus aux plus hauts honneurs, les gros eleveurs se font payer 
les rituels par les plus jeunes, et, grace au prt a interet, augmentent con- 
sid^rablement le volume de leurs affaires. Par le fait meme, il leur est facile, 
non seulement d'accroitre leur prestige en payant de nouvelles ceremonies, 
mais aussi de donner a leurs enfants une serieuse avance pour 1'acquisition de 
grades bien avant Page auquel y parviennent dans chaque cas les gens du 

Ainsi, a peine entrevue, la belle ordonnance du systeme, apparait fausse*e. 
Pourtant, si Pavance que permettait la richesse paternelle est un gros atout, 
elle pourrait se voir compenser par plus d'astuce commerciale. En realite, 
facteur determinant, elle se voit completer par une acceptation generale de 
Pinegalite de possibilites qu'elle entraine. Le faible nombre des titulaires de 
grades eleves ne correspond pas seulement a la faiblesse de la duree moyenne 
de la vie, mais aussi au fait que nombreux sont ceux qui se contentent de grades 
inferieurs. Par contre Pinegalite de fait se voit leg&rement corrigee par Pin6galite 
des taux de paiement pour un grade determine; on s'aper^oit que le commun 
des mortels se voit demander bien moins que les candidats mieux nes: la 
difference est paribis du simple au double; elle correspond a des necessites 
de prestige qui sont Papanage dans chaque district de quetques grandes families 
n^cessites d'ostentation, de parade des richesses. L'avarice, defaut generalement 
condamne, parce qu'existant, leur est permise encore moins qu'a d'autres. Ils 
ne pourraient s'abstenir d'acquerir leurs grades aux plus hauts prix et de se 
faire initier au plus grand nombre possible de rituels. En certaines regions, 
cette difference de condition a permis, comme dans le Nord de Malekula (Big 
Nambas) Petablissement d'une chefferie plus classique combinant sa fonction 
hereditaire avec une hierarchic de grades dont elle s'est arrogee les prerogatives 

Mais Porganisation politique fondee sur une chefferie hereditaire est trop 
peu caractcristique des Nouvelles-Hebrides pour que nous ne Petudions ailleurs 
que dans son habitat d'election, la Nouvelle-Caledonie et les iles Loyalty. 

Aux iles Loyalty, que nous prendrons comme exemple type, Poffrande 
annuelle des premices de la recolte est la cle qui permet de comprendre le 
mecanisme de cette societe encore tres vivace. Pour Pautochtone vivant entre la 
peche et les travaux de la terre, Poffrande d'une partie de son travail constitue 
peut-etre Pacte social par excellence. Les premieres jeunes ignames portees 
en don par un cadet a son frere ain^ d6clenchent une mecanique complexe 
dont le d^roulement offre une image presque complete de la structure de la 
Societe* Loyaltienne. 

La premiere offrande, celle du cadet a Paine, n'est pas mise de cote pour 
Palimentation quotidienne; on en garde une partie et le reste, s'ajoutant a 
Poffrande personnelle, est porte par Paine* d'un groupe de fr&res a celui que 
Pon considere comme la tete de la ligne*e. La meilleure part des offrandes 
re9ues par ce dernier, augmented d'une substantielle contribution, est remise 
ensuite a celui qui d&ient la position prpond6rante au sein du groupe local 

264 Men and Cultures 

(sous-clan); le meme processus repercute les pr&nices, toujours plus con- 
siderables malgre la dime prise au passage, jusqu'au chef de clan, puis au chef 
du village ou d'un groupe de clans autonomes 5 Pint&ieur du village, enfin en 
dernier lieu & Phomme que 1'on d&igne ordinairement du nom de grand chef. 

Toute chefFerie est ainsi en quelque sorte support^e par le groupe des gens 
qui font Phommage des pr&nices. Ce sont ceux qui sont les plus proches du 
chef, disent les anciens, ils sont comme "le p&re et la m&re du chef". 

Aux echelons inferieurs, le rituel du don des ignames n'est gu&re plus apparent 
que le transport des tubercules suivi des br&ves allocutions r^ciproques de 
presentation et de remerciement. II en est tout autrement au niveau du chef 
de tribu comme du grand chef; les pr^mices de chaque clan, constituant une 
provision importante, doivent etre disposes c6rmoniellement dans une enceinte 
particuli&re situee Pinterieur de la chefferie. 

Certains clans ne sont pas tenus & Poffrande rituelle des pr^mices, mais se 
contentent a un autre moment de Penvoi d'un present dit de "bonne volonte". 
Ce privilege les d^signe comme gens d'importance; leur parole jouit d'un 
poids particulier du fait qu'ordinairement ils repr&entent les clans des plus 
anciens possesseurs du sol et ont la prerogative de regler toutes les questions 
fonci&res, plan sur lequel le chef ne detient aucune autorite coutumire. 

La tradition sociale veut qu'aux iles Loyalty le chef soit entour6 d'une 
veritable cour de dignitaires, dont chacun joue un role bien defini en tant 
que repr&entant d'un clan particulier, & moins que lui mme ou celui qu'il 
dei&gue ne vienne s'ajouter au commun des serviteurs. Voici une liste type de 
ces dignitaires specialises : 

le heraut, dit "bouche du chef", qui annonce au peuple les decisions du 
chef et de son conseil ; 

P"homme de la demeure", serviteur special du chef qu'il ne doit pas quitter; 
il a souvent pour Passister un officier de bouche charge de faire, ou plutot de 
surveiller la preparation de la nourriture destin^e au chef; 

les conseillers du chef, conseillers mais aussi ouvriers en sa demeure, autant 
Pun que Pautre, d'autant plus que, representants de leurs clans, le hasard peut 
faire qu'ils ne soient de loin pas anciens au regard de Page; 

le pretre, devin, sorte de conseiller & un degr6 sup^rieur. II laisse entrevoir 
Pissue, bonne ou heureuse des entreprises projetees par le chef; sa parole a 
force de loi, meme pour ce dernier; il a le privilege d'^noncer le jugement ou 
la decision qui clot automatiquement les discussions du conseil de la chefferie ; 

les hommes charges de Pentretien ou du renouvellement des constructions de 
la chefferie; il peuvent decider de ces travaux sans en r^ferer au chef. 

Un de ces dignitaires, pas toujours le meme, a, par suite de circonstances 
historiques, le redoutable devoir d'infliger une correction manuelle au chef, 
s'il juge que sa conduite n'est pas telle qu'eile devrait etre. A Lifou, certains 
autres de ces dignitaires, en principe deux par grande chefferie, ont le privilege 
eventuel de d^poser le grand chef et de lui nommer un successeur. 

Le chef loyaltien n'est pas Paine des fils ou meme neveux du chef mort, mais 
celui d'entre eux, qui a 6t& accept^ et intronis6 comme tel par les dignitaires 
de la chefferie; c'est Ik en fait toute sa Iegitimit6. Par voie de consequence, le 
chef n'a de pouvoir absolu sur ses sujets que dans la mesure ou il est soutenu 
par Popinion generate. On sait qu'un mecanisme social est pr^vu pour arrter 
ses debordements possibles; mais encore faut-il qu'ils atteignent un certain 
e. II existe vis-i-vis du chef tout un comportement d'ordre affectif qui lui 

Les Tendances Modernes de 1'Evolution des Societ& Melanesiennes 265 

permet de sortir des normes; un chef a droit & une conduite qui le distingue du 
commun des mortels. 

Ce schema general est celui des grandes chefFeries; sous une forme plus 
modeste, mois 61abore*e, il est aussi celui des chefferies de moindre importance. 
II ne suffit pas a rendre compte de tous les cas, et surtout de celui, fort gnant, 
du point de vue administratif, ou des chefFeries voisines se recouvrent terri- 
torialement par dessus les limites officielles de district. II y a aussi le cas des 
chefFeries couti&rement autonomes par rapport a la grande chefFerie de leur 
district. II y a encore le cas, apparemment absurde pour nous des deux chef- 
feries Bahit et Imwene coexistant parallfelement dans le district de Wekiny 
(Weneki) sur Ouvea, avec les memes limites g6ographiques et parfois les 
memes sujets; la seule difference est que 1'une est reconnue par 1' administration 
et 1'autre pas; mais toutes deux sont traditionnelles. 

En Nouvelle-Caiedonie, excepte dans les regions de Canala et Tile des Pins 
ou 1'organisation politique est similaire a celle des iles Loyalty, le schema 
apparait plus simple dans son principe. La complexite, que nous ne pouvons 
analyser ici, reside cette fois dans la multiplicite des modalite's locales de 
1'institution, dans la realisation & chaque fois differente du role du chef par 
rapport aux pr^mices, de sa plus ou moins grande autonomie, parfois tres 
relative, vis-&-vis des clans maitres de la terre ou des rituels de fertilite. Nous ne 
pouvons malheureusement nous etendre ici sur ce point. 

Voyons maintenant ce qu'un siecle d 'evolution a fait des structures dont 
nous avons esquisse* la description. 

Les Nouvelles-Hebrides, qui se rattachent dej a la M&anesie classique par 
1'absence de chefFerie hereditaire, ont subi, dans des circonstances de contact 
culturel analogues, une evolution parallele. La christianisation a tres vite 
detruit toute 1'organisation politique locale, ne laissant subsister de la tradition 
que les regies matrimoniales. Les groupements restes pai'ens, ceux qui ont 
resiste* la tentation de rejoindre le christianisme et qui aujourd'hui hesitant 
a le faire, cherchent une voie qui leur vite de faire ce pas, tout en leur per- 
mettant d 'adapter leur vie sociale aux conditions mod ernes. A Pint^rieur des 
groupes christianises, et tout au moins du principal d'entre eux, celui des 
presbyt&riens, une reaction se produit, poussant les increase's a prendre une 
autonomie de plus en plus grande vis-i-vis du missionnaire, qui pour eux n'a 
parfois apparemment plus d'autre int^ret que d'etre un pion entre leurs mains 
habiles & manier des intrigues locales extremement complexes, jouant du 
missionnaire contre 1'administration, le colon, ou m6me centre un de ses 
collogues moins souple ou moins influensable. Certains ont pousse* ce d6sir 
d'inde*pendance jusqu'k deserter la mission et & edifier un n^o-paganisme sous 
l'gide d'un Messie, forme moderne d'un dieu ancien rappele* une existence 
nouvelle dans la conscience collective. G'est le cas du mouvement John Frum 
de Tanna au sud des Nouvelles-H6brides. Apres un demi-sifecle de christianisa- 
tion intensive, la socie*te" paienne qui a surgi du bouleversement efFectue* en 
1941 ofFre une apparence de retour complet au passe*, k un pass6 baign6 dans 
la ferveur intense d'un culte des anctres redevenu public, et dont les mani- 
festations ont lieu chaque soir a la cre*monie du Kava. La structure politique 
ancienne ne s'est pas en r^alite* reconstitute. Tant que persistera Popposition 
administrative et missionnaire auz volont6s locales d'autonomie, les prophfetes 
et leaders du mouvement, utilisant plus ou moins consciemment des techniques 
de non cooperation, fourniront un encadrement suffisant dans une situation 
fluente. Ces homines changent au gre* de la repression, des arrestations ou des 

266 Men and Cultures 

mises en liberte*. La depopulation ancienne fait que ceux qui pr6tendent une 
dignit^ traditionnelle repr^sentent en gros deux hommes adultes sur trois, dont 
aucun ne peut plus pretendre k une preeminence, meme sur le plan du village. 
II en resulte une sorte de vide institutionnel, aujourd'hui reconnu, et que le 
Gouvernement Condominial s'emploie remplir de fa^on suffisamment 
democratique pour que la solution proposee recueille Padhesion generale. C'est 
d'ailleurs le seul moyen de permettre aux aspirations profondes des gens de 
Tile de s'exprimer avec des modalites plus positives qu'un mythe irrationnel 
sp^culant sur des bouleversements cosmiques. 

Ce messianisme exhaltant etait le fait de Chretiens dont beaucoup etaient 
]ettre*s dans la langue vernaculaire, et dont les apotres furent les plus jeunes 
"Teachers", formes a la langue anglaise, et qui representaient Pespoir de la 

Curieusement, les populations montagnardes de 1'interieur d'Espiritu Santo, 
ont subi une Evolution qui aboutit aujourd'hui a des modalites beaucoup plus 
rationnelles. Ge groupement, peu nombreux (environ 2000 individus), est 
reste paien malgre des tentatives de christianisation aggressives. N'ayant jamais 
subi de penetration europeenne sur son territoire, pas meme administrative, 
il a ndanmoins etc* en contact regulier avec les europeens installed sur la cote, 
au moins depuis une trentaine d'annees. 

Les relations sociales se comptabilisent aujourd'hui en schillings d'argent, 
au lieu de Petre en cochons a defenses recourbees. Les conditions g^ographiques, 
Peioignement de tout centre europeen, conferant aux montagnards une auto- 
nomie politique quasi absolue, les modalites de Pacculturation ont pu prendre 
des aspects rappelant celies de Pinterieur de la Nouvelle-Guinee. L'organisation 
de nouveaux "cultes" & tendances syncretistes, pas toujours assimilables aux 
Cargo Cults, et dont Pun chassait Pautre, a provoque* depuis 1928 un boule- 
versement complet de Porganisation ancienne, qui ne se retrouve plus qu'a 
1'etat de traces. Pendant les six annees que dura le mouvement dit du "Naked 
Cult", Pexogamie du groupe local, sinon de la valle*e, se vit remplacee par une 
endogamie & Pinterieur meme du groupe local, faisant fi des interdits matri- 
moniaux qui avaient re"gi des generations. Le syst&me social fonde sur la 
hierarchic de grades avait ete balaye spontanement avec la mise a mort deja 
ancienne et generale de tous les cochons du centre de Pile. La coutume de la 
dot k rebours, si resistante & P influence missionnaire, s'est vue abandonee par 
la majorite des habitants. Si ces memes gens boivent encore le kava, c'est d'une 
maniere entierement secularisee, les femmes et les enfants buvant aussi sans 
qu'aucun interdit ne soit plus en vigueur a ce propos. 

Les manifestations collectives ou personnelles du culte des ancetres semblent 
bien diminuees, en meme temps que la croyance & la sorcellerie et a ses mefaits 
fait Pobjet d'une repression menee par le dernier prophete de la region, tenant 
d'une mystique de la purete collective excluant de la region, tant les cochons, 
que les sorciers, teachers et missionnaires presbyteriens, mais appelant de ses 
vceux ce qui serait enseignement non confessionnel et assistance medicale. 

Les groupements chr?tiens ont eux evolue dans un double sens: recherche 
d'une autonomie economique vis-^-vis du colon, du commer9ant et du coprah 
maker europeen, par la floraison spontanee de cooperatives de production et de 
consommation. Sauf en de rares cas, manquant totalement d'assistance tech- 
nique, ces cooperatives ont fait faillite les unes apres les autres, souvent d'ailleurs 
apres avoir ete grugees par des conseilleurs europeens de mauvaise foi. Mais 
il est interessant de noter que leur but avoue etait de s'organiser pour avoir 

Les Tendances Modernes de PEvolution des Socie'te's Me*lane*siennes 267 

leurs ecoles, leurs hopitaux, et qu'elles cherchaient a diriger toute la vie des 
groupements qu'elles influencaient. L aussi il s'agissait d'une tentative d'auto- 
nomie sur le plan local. Certains elements autochtones commencent a penser 
en termes vagues a un regroupement politique sur le plan de Parchipel. Des 
forces confuses s'agitent, cherchant une voie a une volonte d'independance 
chaque annee plus precise, mieux affirmee que certains esperent au moyen d'une 
Eviction soudaine des Europeens, mais que le plupart conc,oivent dans Pigno- 
rance voulue du cadre institutionne] condominial, qui n'a pas su encore pre- 
senter des possibilite's d'integration aux ambitions qui se font jour. 

La territoire franchise de la Nouvelle-Caledonie et des iles Loyalty pr&ente 
a ce point de vue un tableau entierement different. La Nouvelle-Caledonie 
ayant etc choisie par le Gouvernement du Second Empire, puis de la troisieme 
Republique comme colonie de peuplement, la premiere periode de contact fut 
marquee par Fadaptation necessaire de la Societe Autochtone a la situation 
nouvelle. Cette adaptation ne se fit pas sans heurts. D'abord la conquete mili- 
taire avec les expeditions dites de pacification dans Pinterieur de Pile, puis 
deux rebellions organisees et les repressions qui suivirent. Aux pertes dues a 
la depopulation, phenomene general en Oceanic, s'ajouterent les pertes 
importantes provoque*es par ces evenements. II en re*sulte qu'aujourd'hui sur 
la Grande Terre, la population autochtone se concentre dans les hautes vallees 
de la cote ouest et sur la cote est de Pile. Ces transformations demographiques 
s'accompagnerent d'une alienation importante de terres au profit de la colo- 
nisation europeenne et du regroupement des autochtones a Pint^rieur de 
reserves dont les limites variaient au gre de Padministration locale. Cependant 
entre les deux guerres et apres la derniere insurrection de 1917, la situation 
fonciere se stabilisa, mais la population indigene restait soumise au regime 
dit de Pindigenat: impot de capitation, interdiction de se de*placer sans autorisa- 
tion administrative, larges requisitions de main d'ceuvre au profit de Padminis- 
tration ou de la colonisation. En somme il s'agissait d'une situation coloniale 
classique dans la perspective generale d'un Empire, regi par une metropole 
occidentale. Le cote positif du tableau etait donne par une politique brutale, 
mais valable, de mise en valeur des reserves. Les paillottes furent brulees par 
mesure d'autorite pour etre remplacees, par de grandes cases a Peurop^enne 
aux murs en torchis; on dut planter une partie de la surface des reserves en 
cultures perennes et surtout en caf6, introduisant ainsi Pagriculteur m^la- 
nesien a une existence de producteur autonome dans Peconomie numeraire. 
Aux approches de 1940, une politique scolaire commen^a a doter la population 
autochtone, des elements d'une connaissance generalisee du frangais. 

Sur le plan de Porganisation politique traditionnelle, les bouleversements 
dus aux modalites de la prise de possession porterent un coup funeste aux 
multiples chefferies de toutes grandeurs trouvees en place a la prise de posses- 
sion. Un arrete local du 27 octobre 1897 pretendit introduire le concept de 
grandes et de petites chefferies organisees suivant une hierarchic donnant 
droit & des grades a consonnance militaire et a des galons d'or ou d'argent. 
La politique de cantonnement des autochtones obligea Padministration a faire 
un choix dans les candidats possibles. Les chefferies administratives qui emer- 
gerent de cette reforme furent considerees comme devant se mettre au service 
de la colonisation. Le chef, meme s'il etait encore parfois dans une certaine 
mesure traditionnel, se transforma en auxiliaire du gendarme, en agent de 
recrutement pour le travail force il lui etait ristourne 5% sur les salaires 
de ses sujets engages. En fin de compte, le chef dont Paction etait trop 

268 Men and Cultures 

souvent opposed aux int6rts des siens, ne faisait plus reposer son autorite" que 
sur la menace de punitions administratives dcide*es & la diligence du gen- 
darme syndic des affaires indigenes. Quand en 1945, le regime de I'indig&iat 
se vit supprime, les cheiferies perdirent leur dernier appui et ce qui pouvait 
rester de prestige aux meilleurs se d&agregea au cours des anne*es qui suivirent. 

Devant la n^cessite*, confronted avec une situation qui pour elle etait r6volu- 
tionnaire, se voyant octroyer d'abord la liberte de residence puis progressive* 
ment des droits politiques aujourd'hui entiers, la socie*te autochtone tendit & 
se resserer, et k chercher une adaptation & ses nouvelles conditions d'existence. 
L'ancienne institution du Conseil des Anciens, en pratique officiellement 
ignore*e jusqu'alors, fournit le cadre d'une certaine reorganisation de la struc- 
ture politique, reorganisation qui s'effectua dans une grande mesure spontane*- 
ment, mais avec la sympathie tant des missions que des pouvoirs publics. 

On pouvait croire que la levee brusque d'un regime d'arbitraire que les 
conditions de la guerre n'avait en rien adouci, provoquerait une flambe*e 
nationaliste qui peu a peu approfondirait une volonte' d'autonomie sur le plan 
politique. Certains indices portaient a le craindre entre 1945 et 1948. Mais 
d'autres facteurs jouaient. Meme au cours des annees de guerre, le reseau 
medical et scolaire s'etait developpe*. La dispersion des colons europeens aidant 
on se trouvait en face d'une generation d'hommes faits, chretiens dans leur 
immense majorit^ et parlant tous le frangais qui s'imposait de plus en plus 
comme langue vehiculaire. Certains avaient fait la guerre sur les theatres 
ext&ieurs comme volontaires de la France libre, suivant en cela la tradition 
des anciens combattants de la guerre de 1914-18. Beaucoup avaient ainsi 
appris & aimer la France, soit parce qu'ils y avaient ete bien re^us, soit avec 
les Missionnaires qui furent longtemps leur seul appui contre Parbitraire. 
Une nouvelle generation se formait, eleve'e dans des 6coles ou seul le fran^ais admis et chez qui Panalphabetisme ne serait plus qu'un souvenir. 

Ainsi par sa liberation juridique inattendue, et effective avant d'etre exigee, 
cette population se retrouvait franchise au meme titre que les Europeens et ses 
revendications ne portrent-elles d'abord que sur la suppression de toute 
discrimination raciale. Des mesures legislatives pr6vues pour une elite africaine 
et appliquees localement sans modifications se traduisirent du jour au lende- 
main par une grosse masse electorale melandsienne. La situation dconomique 
des agriculteurs autochtones, qui, grace leur production de cafe et & leur 
m&hodes culturales bien adaptees, sont pauvres, mais ni mis^rables, ni sous- 
aliment6s; la moderation de leurs leaders politiques, presque tous Sieve's par 
les missions; 1'attitude psychologique des autochtones, exempte de tout com- 
plexe d'inf(6riorite vis-&-vis des europ^ens; 1'attitude des europeens eux-meme 
dont fort peu insist&rent pour 1'application de mesures discriminatoires telles 
que le double college electoral; Pemergence, parmi les Europ6ens de person- 
nalit^s politiques nouvelles, non compromises dans la situation coloniale 
ant&ieure et qui surent cr6er un climat de collaboration politique entre autoch- 
tones et europeens, tout cela aboutit a une situation presque unique dans 
1'Union Franchise et qui n'a peut-etre d'autre parallele que Pharmonie inter- 
raciale qui r^gne dans le territoire de Hawaii. 

II suffira en conclusion de citer les derni&res mesures politiques et sociales 
prises dans ce climat si particulier: suffrage universel sans distinction d'origine 
raciale; Elections au college unique; extension des prestations familiales & tous 
les travailleurs et aux memes taux, queique soit leur origine; possibility aux 
autochtones d'obtenir des concessions de terres du Domaine de PEtat dans les 

Les Tendances Modernes de PEvolution des Socit6s Melanesiennes 269 

mmes conditions que les europ^ens; suppression progressive en cours de 
toute discrimination raciale en mati&re de salaires; organisation d'un syst&me 
de Scurit6 Sociale pour tous les 61ments de la population. 

Quand on pense aux luttes qui d^chirent tant de parties des ex-empires 
coloniaux, il apparait que Pexemple de la Nouvelle-Catedonie, petit territoire 
de 65.000 habitants, vaut largement la peine d'une analyse plus approfondie. 
Et de cette comparaison avec la situation existant dans Parchipel h^bridais si 
proche, que conclure, sinon qu'il n'y a pas de voie unique pour Involution 
politique des territoires non autonomes. Aucune loi rigide n' oblige & passer 
par le stade du nationalisme. N'y-a-t-il pas la mati&re a meditation? 

Institut Frarqais (TOcfanie, 
Noumea, New Caledonia. 


Erna Gunther 

There are three aids to the study of culture history: archaeology, historical 
documents, and ethnography. These are available in varying proportions for 
different cultures and often do not present a continuous picture, but with sup- 
port from the ethnographic sources for the region, a well documented study of 
a single group can be assembled. This will be done for the Nootka in an effort 
to show that they have not always been as marginal to the more elaborate 
cultures of the Northwest Coast as they appear in the period during which the 
major ethnographies were written. In contrast to the Haida, Tsimshian and 
Tlingit with elaborate clan systems reflected in the art, and the Kwakiutl, 
where secret societies and the potlatch system were highly developed, the 
Nootka at the same period appear poor. They seem on the outer fringe, both 
geographically and culturally with a simple bilateral family, a less developed 
art and a ceremonial system which shows relationship to others on the coast, 
but is comparatively less complex. This comparison is chronologically import- 
ant, for, since it is known that the Northwest Coast developed relatively late, 
it may be that the Nootka in the early contact period exhibited the base from 
which all coast cultures began. The great variety of documentary material for 
the Nootka shows that without historical depth, a culture can easily be mis- 

The archaeology of this region presents difficult problems in chronology and 
while it gives some clues as to the remote origins of the cultures, it does not 
yield much for the immediate pre-contact period. The materials are mostly 
stone and bone, while the earliest collections gathered by the explorers are 
utensils and carvings of wood, throwing light on those phases of the culture 
which are not obtainable through archaeology in this damp climate and wet 
soil. These objects can also express sanctioned behavior by their very presence 
in the collections and thus help to bridge the gap which Drucker states lies 
between the study of historical documents and modern ethnographic reports, 
the latter dealing with sanctioned patterns of behavior and the former with 
overt culture traits. This point was also made by John Mills in his ethnohistory 
of the Nootka (Mills, p. 141). On the other hand, Mary Gormly (personal 
communication) who is at present working on the Spanish sources for the region, 
points out that the Spaniards by their longer presence in the area and their 
living on shore, in contrast to the British explorers who seldom left their ships, 
were able to observe many cultural activities which were not apparent to 
others who were not present through an entire annual cycle. A careful study of 
documentary material supported by these collections and compared with 
modern ethnographies can help place this culture in its proper perspective. 

The historic material points to a number of culture traits which are not 
found in the modern ethnographies of the Nootka, but are related to traits 
found among some of the northern tribes. In the Cook collection in the British 
Museum are several pieces of armor which may be from Nootka. They agree 

A Re-Evaluation of the Cultural Position of the Nootka 271 

with the descriptions found in the diaries, and the catalogue does list one from 
Nootka (BM-NWC 73). Ledyard describes the armor of the Nootka as of 
"moosehide covered externally with slips of wood sewed transversely to the 
leather" (Ledyard, p. 77). In Drucker's culture element list the use of rod 
armor is denied except by one Hesquiat informant who described what might 
be rod armor as of "heavy twigs" (Drucker, 1950, p. 187). It can probably be 
stated that armor of the type known ethnographically only from the northern 
tribes was also used by the Nootka at the time of contact. Their early use of 
muskets may have eliminated this armor from the culture sooner than in the 
north. By 1788 the Nootka used muskets, but still fought among themselves 
with spears and clubs. However in 1791, Haswell estimates that Wickananish, 
the chief of Clay oquot, had 200 guns and some ammunition, and in 1 792 all 
the important people at Nootka had their own muskets (Wike, p. 41-42). 
There was considerable argument between the early traders whether to give 
the Indians guns or intoxicating drink, but when competition became keen, 
anything which produced sea otter skins was regarded as legitimate. Both 
Edgar (Journal ms.) who was with Cook, and Cook himself mention that when 
the Nootka go to war they wear large, frightful masks and paint themselves 
red and black. The use of these masks, however, is not sufficiently authenticated 
to make a good argument since not one has appeared in a collection. Samwell 
(Journal ms.), the surgeon with Cook, who was a careful observer, mentions 
that the elaborate headdresses were worn in war dances which the visitors saw, 
while they never saw a war party leave ready for action. 

The handsomest pieces of stone carving in the Cook and Vancouver collec- 
tions are called stone fighting weapons and resemble the copper breakers of the 
Kwakiutl (BM-NWC 93, 94, 95). They are mentioned by the Spaniards as 
wedges for splitting wood, but this is contradicted by Ingraham (letter, ms.). 
Of the pieces seen, only one could possibly be used as a wedge because of the 
carved heads where the striking surface should be. These carvings resemble a 
face, some more birdlike than others. The mouth is always open, like a fledgling, 
and the eyes are protruding circles, very reminiscent of the stalk eyes of the 
Salish Xwexwe mask. This weapon would call for even closer combat than the 
longer whalebone club. That these weapons are no longer known in Nootkan 
culture is understandable by recalling the statement that by 1792 practically 
every important person had a gun. 

Another feature which both indicates a former culture trait and a fine control 
of art style is the " slave killer," which is prominent in the Cook collection. 
Two pieces are in the British Museum where they are catalogued as "North- 
west Coast" (BM-NWC 97, 98) and a similar one is in the Museum at Florence 
(Giglioli, plate 3, #62). These "slave killers" are short wooden clubs with a 
human head carved at the upper end. The head is decorated with human hair 
and has a protruding tongue of stone which is the striking end. Niblack (USNM 
Report, 1888: plate 28) shows a comparable piece from the Tsimshiar* with a 
protruding raven's beak. While the British Museum has not definitely cata- 
logued these pieces as coming from Nootka Sound, they are described as from 
there by Cook (Vol. 2 : 319) and Rickman (p. 244). Another form of slave 
killer which the British Museum does catalogue as coming from Nootka is a 
short wooden club with a blade of stone transversely set into the handle and 
above it is carved a human face. Pieces similar to this are figured by Niblack 
(USNM Report 1888: Plate 46) as coming from the Tlingit and were collected 
by United States Navy men which might place them in the second half of the 

272 Men and Cultures 

19th century. Such a piece is also described for Fort Rupert Kwakiutl by 
Boas (MemAFLS 28:60), but no reference can be found to them in the 
Nootkan ethnographic literature. Slaves were still held in the latter part of the 
19th century but probably fear of the law prevented any sacrifice as was formerly 
done, for unless there was a ceremonial act involved there would not be a 
special instrument for the purpose. Swadesh mentions in his explanation of the 
ethnographic texts of Sapir (SW Jour, of Anthro. 4 : 83) that slaves were more 
important as war booty than human heads, for they could be sold for guns. 
There are indications that some slave trading was carried on by the white fur 
traders, taking Indian women and children from one group to another. 
Drucker states that sometimes a slave was assigned to a chief's son as a com- 
panion and if the chief's child died, the slave was killed (Drucker, BBAE 
144 : 272). He also describes a "display killing" directed by a Kwakiutl woman 
who was married at Chickliset, when a Kwakiutl chief arrived, boasting that 
he was travelling around Vancouver Island to beat all the chiefs he visited 
(Drucker, BBAE 144: 384). By the presence of these objects it is clear that 
formerly the Nootka participated in the ritual killing of slaves which was still 
a known trait in the northern cultures well into the 19th century. As with the 
stone fighting weapons, the art style was thoroughly developed and well 

Continuing with other subjective features of culture, one finds in the narra- 
tives of the early explorers and traders, as well as in the collections they 
deposited, indications of a richer ceremonial life than is recorded in later 
ethnographic literature. The description of the elaborate entertainment which 
Maquinna arranged for Vancouver and Quadra shows every trait which is 
known in the ceremonial procedures on the Northwest Coast in historic times, 
except that many of the costumes and much of the regalia consisted of trade 
goods, which they had recently acquired, already absorbed, and were anxious 
to display. Masks representing animals were used and dancers came out from 
behind a screen and performed individually. It is possible that many of the 
ceremonial practices which have been attributed to contact with the Kwakiutl 
by recent informants are actually old basic ones which disappeared among the 
Nootka and came back to them in later years from the Kwakiutl. 

Whenever masks were mentioned in these narratives the author seldom 
neglected to add that they were well carved and not only this evidence, but also 
the actual pieces confirm the fact that the Nootka of the late 18th century had 
complete technical control of the skill of wood carving and had established an 
easily recognizable version of Northwest Coast art style. Samwell, the surgeon 
on the Cook expedition states: "There is hardly anything in the heavens above, 
earth below or waters under the earth that they have not an image of. Masks 
of the human face . . . were well executed." These carvings were of great variety 
and ranged from small decorations on costumes to great house ornamentation. 
Boit, speaking of the village of Hopatcisath which he was ordered to destroy 
by Captain Gray, says: "it had upward of 200 houses and every door was in 
the resemblance of an human or a beast's head, the passage being through the 
mouth . . . and there was more carved work . . . some of which was by no means 
inelegant." (Boit, p. 243.) The use of house posts with the entrance through the 
mouth is found on the large totem poles of the north in the next century and 
is never mentioned again in modern Nootka literature. If this statement did 
not occur several times and by men from different expeditions it would not be 
so impressive. The profusion of carving is another trait which is not outstanding 

A Re-Evaluation of the Cultural Position of the Nootka 273 

in later Nootka culture, for house fronts and even masks are more apt to depend 
on painting than carving for the development of the design. 

Another very excellent example of the fine carving of the period is a club 
(BM-NWG 100), described in the catalogue of the British Museum as a "hand 
instrument used in war at Nootka." It hardly seems effective as a weapon, and 
is more likely a dance baton, perhaps used in a warlike dance. The carving of a 
wolf's head is the best that can definitely be assigned to this early period of 
exploration. It is characteristically Northwest in style with the ornamentation 
of human hair and the inset teeth. The motif of an animal's mouth holding a 
human head or mask is frequent in the art and sometimes is even more realisti- 
cally carried out by having the compressed body of the person in the jaws of 
the animal and the head facing outward like this mask. This is also exemplified 
in a fine Tlingit dance staff in the form of a sandhill crane holding a man in his 
beak (WSM cat., #1237). 

Some of the most striking pieces in the European collections are human heads 
carved of a block of cedar which resemble such a piece used by the Kwakiutl 
in the Toxuit ceremony where the dancer's head is supposedly cut off and shown 
to the audience, the carved head being substituted. There are three of these 
pieces, two in the British Museum (BM-NWC 57, 58), and one in Florence 
(Giglioli, Plate III, #37). They are mentioned in King's journal : "The natives 
would sometimes bring strange carved heads and place them in a conspicuous 
part of the ship and desire us to let them remain there and for these they would 
receive no return." (Folio 22.) That an odd piece of this sort might have been 
traded over from the Kwakiutl is of course possible, but from King's remarks 
they must have been numerous, so that local origin is a more plausible explana- 
tion. They are fine examples of realistic carving and it is a pity that none of the 
writers of the journals mention them in greater detail. If they were ceremonially 
used, it was either at a ritual not done for the entertainment of the visitors, or it 
was part of a practice which they did not care to reveal, so they must, at present, 
remain either as an example of Nootka work, or trade from the Kwakiutl. 

While these culture traits just enumerated do not appear in the later life of 
the Nootka, there are also a number of pieces in the early collections which 
show that in some features there has been an extraordinary stability in the 
culture. This is especially brought out in the rattles which were collected by 
Cook. They are illustrated in Inverarity (#111). These are in the simple bird 
shape which is the basic form of the rattle on the entire coast and which is 
the fundamental pattern of the elaborate and complex rattles of the Tsimshian 
and Tlingit. In the Cook collection there is a second rattle which shows a step 
toward this elaboration, also illustrated in Inverarity (#1 12) with carved instead 
of painted designs. The wings are carved on the back and a human face is 
carved on the under side. One striking item of detail also occurs on this rattle, 
namely a deep triangular cut, quite unnecessary to the execution of the design, 
on the under side of the bird's throat. This same detail is found on all the com- 
plex bird rattles of the later 19th century. The Nootka, in historic times, have 
been famous for their wolf ritual and the use of the wolf mask. In the old 
Northwest material in the British Museum, but not definitely attributed to 
Cook, is a wolf mask which has been often illustrated. Boas used it in his 
"Secret Societies and Social Organization of the Kwakiutl" (USNM Report 
for 1895) stating that it shows that no change has taken place in these masks 
in the last century. Inverarity (#102) uses the same piece, attributing it, like 
Boas, to the Kwakiutl. Since the Wolf ritual is one of the principal ceremonies 

274 Men and Cultures 

of the Nootka and since Cook had no contact with the Kwakiutl, it is possible 
that this piece is Nootka in origin. Otherwise it would again presume trade 
from the Kwakiutl which did increase during the early days of the maritime 
fur trade, but the internal evidence of this being Nootka is very strong. 

In the field of weapons, one piece which appears in every Nootka collection 
supplies also the continuity of this culture, namely the whalebone war club. 
It is made of material distinctive of the Nootka, for they were without doubt 
the best whalers on the coast and in addition made the whale hunt one of their 
great rituals. It is fitting therefore that this characteristic piece should be an 
index of this culture. This club, about 2 feet long, flat and broadening toward 
its lower end, and with a profile of a bird's head for the handle is found archaeo- 
logically, not only along the coast, but as far away as the Plateau region. It was 
never copied by others but was a constant article of trade. This club was an 
effective weapon in close combat. Drucker states that chiefs had names for 
their war clubs (Drucker, BBAE 144 : 335), indicating a special attitude toward 
the weapon. In the Cook and Vancouver collections these pieces are well 
represented and with all the perfection and style found in any piece which can 
be attributed to the 19th century, showing again that the Nootka at this time 
had developed both technique and style in their carving. 

The notes which have been gathered here to review again the aspects of 
Nootka culture which the early expeditions described begin in 1778 with the 
visit of Captain Cook. When his shipmates sold sea otter skins in Canton for 
$120 apiece they started the maritime fur trade which soon was to change 
many aspects of Northwest Coast Indian life. Joyce Wike, in her dissertation 
(Wike, p. 3) stated in her review of this period that the area had the peculiar 
advantage of receiving European trade goods without the disruptive influences 
of colonization. This is true and there is much virtue in the circumstance, for 
it gave the fur trading tribes, especially the Nootka and Haida who had direct 
contact with the Europeans and opportunity to select from the preferred goods, 
and time to adapt these to their own culture with no European pattern of use 
to follow. Many other groups received European goods through trading with 
Indian neighbors before actual contact with Europeans themselves. The 
Kwakiutl acquired guns from the Nootka and often traded slaves for them, thus 
improving the position of the Nootka in trading with other Indians. This 
went a step further when the Europeans began to acquire Indian trade goods 
and carry them from one tribe to another until they found someone who would 
take the material in trade for furs. The superior position of the Nootka and 
Haida in the early trade was lost when the sea otter was almost depleted and 
gave way to land fur trade which created new centers on the mainland. 

In this early period of sudden and heavy impact on the Nootka which 
established their success in trading, the principal reaction on their culture 
seems to be a diversion of interest. Formerly a little sea otter hunting was 
carried out with other activities. With the demands of the fur trade many 
other activities gave way to more hunting. The trade goods received for the 
furs did not replace the neglected activities but created or stressed new ones. 
The orderly flow of inherited privileges was disrupted through more deaths due 
to new diseases, more warfare stimulated by competition in fur trading, and 
the hazards of more sea hunting. The ceremonial cycle could not be carried 
out with regularity because of other demands on time. These subjective matters 
are difficult to document, but on a small scale they have been observed on 
reservations on the Northwest Coast when commercial fishing and cannery 

A Re-Evaluation of the Cultural Position of the Nootka 275 

work gave Indians money, but deprived them of assembling their food, princi- 
pally fish in their own way for the winter ahead. The money, either not wisely 
used, or not sufficient, would not replace that which had been lost. 

The Nootka were drastically affected very early and when the maritime fur 
trade moved away, were left without cultural contacts because the other tribes 
with whom they formerly traded were then too busy with the new land fur 
trade. It is difficult without close knowledge of the terrain of the Nootka to 
realize the extent of their isolation. At the head of Alberni Canal they could 
meet some Salish. Through the pass in the mountains that leads to the valley 
of the Nimkish, is their contact with the Kwakiutl. And by sea with good 
weather they can go to the Queen Charlotte Islands. The Haida of the 19th 
century however, directed their interest toward Prince of Wales Island and 
Alaska. The Nimkish were not the most active culturally of the Kwakiutl and 
the Nanaimo of the Salish were also not culturally stimulating. So the Nootka 
after reaching along with the other of the Northwest Coast tribes a cultural level 
exemplified by the pieces in the early collections, suffered a period of cultural 
regression and stagnation due to their own internal disorganization and the 
changes brought about by European intrusion among their neighbors at the 
same time when that stimulus was removed from them. 

University of Washington, 
Seattle, Washington. 


1. The original material for this paper was gathered during sabbatical leave in 1952 
from the University of Washington and aided by the Neosho Grant for the Study of 
Material Culture. 


Boas, Franz 

1895. Secret Societies and Social Organization of the Kwakiutl. United States National 

Museum Report. 
1935. Kwakiutl Culture as Reflected in the Mythology. Memoir, American Folklore 

Society, Vol. 28. 
Boit, John 

1 9 1 9-20. Log of the Columbia. Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. 53. 

Cook, James 

Cook's Log Until Month Before His Death. Egerton 2177 A ms. 
Cook, James and James King 

1790. Voyages Around the World (5 volumes), London. 
Drucker, Philip 

1951. The Northern and Central Nootkan Tribes. Bureau of American Ethnology, 

Bull. 144. Washington. 
1950. Culture Element Distributions: XXVI, Northwest Coast. Anthropological 

Records, University of California, 9 : (3). 
Edgar, Thomas 

Journal of the Voyage of the Discovery. Add ms. 37,529. British Museum. 
Giglioli, Enrico H. 

1895. Appunti intorno ad una Collezione etnografica, fatta durate il Terzo Viaggio 

di Cook. Archive per L'Antropologia e la Etnologia, Vol. 25. 
Ingraham, Joseph 

Letter to Don Estevan Jos6 Martinez. Seccion Historia, Tomo 65 Archivo General 
de Nacion. Mexico. 

276 Men and Cultures 

Inverarity, Robert Bruce 

1951. Art of the Northwest Coast Indians. Berkeley, University of California Press. 
King, James 

Journal of Captain Cook's Last Voyage. Public Record Office, Ad 55/122. 
Ledyard, John 

1783. A Journal of Captain Cook's Last Voyage to the Pacific Ocean and in Quest of a North- 
west Passage between Asia and America, performed in the Years, 1776-1779. Hartford. 
Mills, John 

1955. The Ethnohistory ofNootka Sound. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Washington, 

Niblack, Albert 

1888. The Coastal Indians of British Columbia and Alaska. United States National 

Museum Report. 
Rickman, John 

1781. Journal of Captain Cook's Last Voyage to the Pacific Ocean on the Discovery. London. 
Samwell, David 

Journal of David Samwell. Egerton 2591 ms. British Museum. 
Swadesh, Morris 

1948. Motivations in Nootka Warfare. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, 4: (1). 
Wike, Joyce 

The Effects of the Maritime Fur Trade on the Indians of the Northwest Coast. Ph.D. 
Dissertation, Columbia University, New York. 

Museum Collections 

Cambridge University Museum 

Florence, Museo di Fisica e Storia Naturali 

London, British Museum Ethnographic Collections 

Seattle, Washington State Museum, University of Washington 

Washington, United States National Museum 





Robert Heine-Geldern 

In the present paper I shall not attempt to prove the reality of pre-Columbian 
trans-Pacific contacts. For this I must refer to Gordon Ekholm's and my own 
published articles. I shall deal exclusively with the theoretical and methodo- 
logical aspects of the problem. 

In the 19th century, in pre-Boas and pre-Graebner days, it was quite legiti- 
mate, from the purely logical point of view, to assume that the ancient cultures 
of America including the civilizations of Meso- America and the Andes 
originated independently without benefit of any Old World influences. This 
assumption conformed perfectly to the then prevailing ethnological theory in 
which the innate psychic uniformity of man was thought to have led auto- 
matically to parallel and similar cultural developments in all parts of the world, 
the observed differences being the result of different geographical environments. 
This conception of numerous parallel developments has long since sunk into 
the grave of obsolete theories. Yet, curiously enough, the belief in the indepen- 
dent origin of American Indian cultures, which had its only justification in such 
a theory, was not only retained, but hardened into a veritable dogma with all 
that this term implies, such as closing one's eyes to manifest but unwelcome 
facts and the anathematizing of non-conformist heretics. This means that the 
theory of the so-called psychic unity of mankind and of parallel developments 
is no longer considered as valid, but is nevertheless tacitly allowed as far as 
correspondences between the Old and the New World are concerned. 

This inconsistency leads to a truly paradoxical situation. Any archaeologist 
who today would still contend that the prehistoric and protohistoric peoples of 
Europe duplicated independently such old achievements of the ancient Near 
East as agriculture, bronze casting, iron work, the wheel, the calendar, or 
writing would simply make himself ridiculous. In a remarkable book, published 
by the Wenner-Gren Foundation a few years ago, Margaret Hodgen showed 
that all those industrial innovations which can be noted in England from the 
earliest times to the 18th century were introduced by immigrants from the 
European continent. But what is not conceded to the inhabitants of the 'British 
Isles nor to Europeans in general is willingly conceded to the American Indians 
who are supposed to have repeated independently the very same complicated 
inventions that had already been made elsewhere. Is there perhaps some 
mysterious law according to which the probability of independent reinvention 
increases in proportion to the geographical distance? If any one believes in 
such a law, I wish that he would say so and explain it to us. 

The logical incompatibility between the rejection of the doctrine of parallel 
development and its tacit admission as far as conformities between Old and 

278 Men and Cultures 

New World cultures are concerned has for many years been the skeleton in our 
closet. No one spoke of it, everybody tried to forget it, and yet it was ever 
present. Like a secret cancer it has poisoned our ethnological thinking without 
our being aware of it. If in this one important case our current theories prove 
inapplicable, what assurance then have we that they are more correct in others ? 
I have little doubt that it was largely this unconscious feeling of insecurity 
which in ever increasing measure has caused scholars to abandon thinking about 
large-scale ethnological problems and to turn to less ambitious, scientifically 
less relevant, but less risky tasks. 

It is high time that we throw the skeleton into the open in order to exorcise 
and lay this spectre. We must have the courage, either to apply our general 
theoretical principles in all cases without exception or, if the existence of pre- 
Columbian ties between the Old and New World cultures can really be dis- 
proved, to accept the consequences and return repentantly to the 19th century 
concepts. For, whatever can be said about the errors of the doctrine of parallel- 
ism, it was at least a system logically consistent in itself. We simply cannot have 
it both ways. 

The same inconsistency that we find in general theory can be noticed in the 
various arguments put forth in the attempt to prove the independence of 
American Indian cultures. I shall restrict myself to a few examples. 

It has often been emphasized that to demonstrate convincingly the existence 
of cultural relationships the respective correspondences must be highly specific 
and must concern complicated inventions or concepts, the repeated indepen- 
dent origin of which can only be imagined with difficulty. This is a perfectly 
reasonable principle. Yet, the very same scholars who make these statements 
silently drop the subject as soon as it comes to concrete and, from the prevailing 
point of view, embarrassing facts. Of course there will always be marginal cases 
where opinions vary as to whether we are confronted with simple or compli- 
cated traits or with sufficiently or not sufficiently specific similarities. There are, 
however, numerous cases in which no reasonable doubt in this respect is possible. 
Could we, for instance, conceive of greater specific similarity than the practi- 
cally complete identity, in eastern Asia and in America, of such complicated 
metallurgical techniques as lost- wax casting and the chemical coloring of gold? 
Are the contriving of cosmological systems in which specific colors are attributed 
to the various directions and the concept of a succession of worlds, alternatively 
destroyed by fire, water, and wind, really things so obvious that we are justified 
in assuming without further thought that they were independently duplicated 
in Asia arid in America? Where would the natural sciences stand if zoologists 
and botanists were as timid as ethnologists and as reluctant to face the facts 
and to draw the inevitable conclusions from manifest correspondences ? They 
would still have to assume that the monkeys of America developed locally 
from marsupials or even lower orders, quite independent from the monkeys of 
the Old World. As compared to those of the natural sciences, not to speak of the 
old and well-established humanities, our methods and our theoretical approaches 
seem to be still in their infancy. 

The fact that cultural traits are never borrowed wholesale by one people 
from another, that invariably some kind of selection takes place, has often 
been emphasized. Yet, the very same scholars who uphold this principle 
immediately forget it as soon as the question of Old and New World relations 
comes up, and unhesitatingly cite the absence of various Asiatic culture-traits 
in America as alleged proof for the independent origin of American civiliza- 

The Problem of Pre-Columbian Contacts between the Old World and the New 279 

tions. This lack of consistency in applying their own principles is frequently 
combined with an almost incredible lack of familiarity with Old World cul- 
tures. I shall cite only a few instances. Thus, the absence of coined money in 
America has been mentioned as one of these alleged proofs. I wish the scholar 
who wrote this would rather have explained to us why coinage was not adopted 
by most of the ancient hinduized countries of southeastern Asia despite the close 
connections they had with India where coinage was used since the time of the 
Mauryan kings. The absence of the true arch in America is often stressed by 
Americanists. They obviously believe that the arch was known in eastern Asia 
since hoary antiquity. Actually, it became known in China only at the time of 
the Han dynasty, due to the contacts with the Iranian and Hellenistic world 
which were made in that period. Again, I wish that those Americanists who 
think that the absence of the arch in America disproves Old World influence 
would rather explain to us why it was never adopted by the peoples of Champa, 
Cambodia, Java, etc. who were in close contact with the Chinese. Even more 
popular is the case of the wheel and the plow. Since, however, those American- 
ists who cite their absence in America as proof of the independence of the 
American Indian civilizations have so far failed to tell us how they could have 
been used in America without the necessary draft-animals, I need not go 
further into the subject. 

The lack of logic in the various arguments put forth in order to save the 
dogma of the independence of the American Indian cultures proves that we 
are faced here, not with a rational theory, but with a predominantly emotional 
conviction. This renders reasonable discussion particularly difficult. It is much 
the same as if we were to try to convince a confirmed Christian, or Mohammedan, 
or Buddhist that his religion is wrong. Indeed, the belief in the independent 
origin of the American Indian cultures has become a kind of religion, certainly 
not of all, but of a large number of Americanists. It is significant that now that 
it becomes increasingly difficult to deny the existence of ancient trans-Pacific 
links between Asia and America, one finds occasional statements to the effect 
that such links are not inconceivable, but that it is still too soon to speak of 
them. If one cannot prevent the destruction of the cherished dogma one tries to 
postpone it at least as long as possible. 

I need say little about one argument for the independence of American Indian 
cultures which, until not so very long ago, appeared fairly reasonable. I refer 
to the alleged disparity of cultivated plants in America and the Old World. 
Ever since the publication of Hutchinson, Silow and Stephens' famous book 
on the evolution of Gossypium, nine years ago, botanists have been taking care 
of that subject. Today, we know that at least four cultivated species, cotton, 
the sweet potato, the bottle gourd, and the coconut palm, were common to 
America and the Old World in pre-Columbian times, with the number likely 
to increase in the near future. Nor can that other once formidable argument be 
cited any longer, the alleged time gap between certain American and Asiatic art 
styles, and especially the supposed gap between the first use of copper and 
bronze in South America and the end of the Bronze Age in eastern Asia. 
American chronology has become extremely fluid. Dates are constantly being 
pushed back, and although Americanists are still accepting the results of 
carbon 14 dating with some reluctance, we can say that in some instances at 
least the gap has practically been closed. 

A few months ago a professor at an American university jokingly remarked 
that the worst term of abuse known to American anthropologists is that of 

280 Men and Cultures 

"extreme diffusionist. " I do not know what an extreme diffusionist is, except 
that the term is used as a bogy to frighten undergraduates. There is no such 
thing as moderate or extreme diffusionism. The only thing that counts is whether 
in a given concrete case a diffusionist explanation is scientifically reasonable or 
unreasonable. Completely fantastic diffusionist hypotheses have occasionally 
been offered by scholars who certainly would be considered as extremely 
"moderate" diffusionists. I shall cite but one case. 

A rightly famous archaeologist, for whom all of us have the greatest admira- 
tion, was impressed by certain similarities between the Maya and Far Eastern 
cultures. In a book published only two years ago he suggested that some of the 
ethnic groups which later amalgamated into the Maya, coming from Asia via 
the Bering Strait, may have brought with them not only certain cosmological 
concepts derived from Hinduism or Buddhism, but also the knowledge that 
their ancestors had once practiced agriculture. The author himself says that his 
view is unorthodox. It is indeed, not only from the prevailing point of view of 
Americanists, but from that of any reasonable ethnological theory. Imagine 
those ancient proto-Maya, after having migrated for generations through 
eastern Siberia, Alaska, Canada, the United States, and Mexico, still remem- 
bering that in the far-off days when they had lived in China or southeastern 
Asia their ancestors had practiced agriculture and, on the basis of that dim 
tradition, successfully introducing it in Meso-America. 

This is a typical case of that terrific fear of the Pacific Ocean one might 
almost say that kind of hydrophobia from which many anthropologists and 
archaeologists seem to suffer. Moreover, it is again a case of that lack of famili- 
arity with Old World cultures which I mentioned before. We have literary 
indications of the high development of boat building and navigation in coastal 
China at least as early as 500 B.C., and Chinese sources make it perfectly clear 
that in the first half millennium A.D. the ships of southern Asia were superior 
in size and to a certain extent in equipment to those of Columbus and Magellan. 
Nor should we forget the large number of East Asiatic junks which were driven 
to the shores of America in historic times, on the average of about one every 
five years. This indicates how the existence of the American continent could 
have become known to the peoples of Asia. Of course, one cannot consider all 
this as proof of the reality of ancient trans-Pacific connections, but it shows 
that they were technically feasible. 

Although much valuable preliminary work usually ignored by American- 
ists has been done on the subject of such relations, most of it lacks that strictly 
methodical basis and that concern for chronology which might carry final 
conviction. To cite just one instance, it is not difficult at all to show that the 
American blowgun shares enough highly specific features with the blowguns 
of Asia to make its Old World origin appear practically certain. But we still 
would not know when, nor in what cultural context it was introduced. I do not 
wish to imply that the diffusion of such single cultural traits should not be 
studied, but from the point of view of sound methods it is not our primary task. 
Therefore Ekholm and I have been investigating and comparing large, well- 
defined complexes, such as art styles and metallurgy, which in America, as 
well as in Asia, are restricted to definite regions and periods and can be dated 
by archaeological or historical methods. So far, our results have been en- 
couraging. We hope that when in this manner a chronological framework will 
have been built up, it may eventually be possible to fit into it also cultural 
traits involving perishable materials, customs, myths, etc. 

The Problem of Pre-Columbian Contacts between the Old World and the New 281 

It has occasionally been said that there is no evidence of turning points 
within the continuous prehistory of Mesoamerica and the Andean region that 
are marked by the injection of Asiatic or Oceanic traits. These were rather rash 
statements since the matter had never been systematically investigated. A 
continuous and unbroken sequence of cultures does not in itself imply contin- 
uous and unbroken internal development. We must realize that we are facing 
here a possible source of error. It is obvious that if changes in culture which are 
believed to be the result of local development should really be due to the 
arrival of some new wave of influences from beyond the ocean, our whole view 
of the cultural history of the region would be out of focus. Therefore the prob- 
lem of the existence or non-existence of trans- Pacific contacts between the Old 
and the New World should be of primary importance to Americanists and 
should be given more thought than is the case at the present time. 

Vienna, Austria. 


Anna Hohenwart-Gerlachstein 

Until not so very long ago ethnologists dealt almost exclusively with the 
cultures of so-called primitive peoples. In recent years, however, it has become 
increasingly clear that this restriction is no longer tenable if we wish to attain a 
real understanding of the history of culture as a whole and of cultural processes. 

The following points seem the most relevant for the ethnological study of the 
higher civilizations : 

First: The respective basic world-view and its reflections in the predominant 
values and in the various spheres of culture ; 

Second : Urbanization, the stratification of society, the administration with 
its hierarchy, 1 the political organization and jurisdiction ; 

Third: The definite and conscious organization of religious cult; 

Fourth : The possibility of perpetuating traditions of any secular or religious 
kind, of laws and of legal and commercial transactions through an enduring 
medium the script, the only exception to this being Peru. 

In order to avoid misunderstanding it must be stressed that ethnological 
research in the sphere of any high civilization can never claim to replace the 
specialist's work. The ethnologist's sphere of research will have to begin where 
that of the specialist usually ends. This implies a threefold task. 

(1) The ethnologist will have to focus his attention on the phases of transition 
from primitive to higher culture and on the persistence of primitive 
traits within the latter. 

(2) He will have to trace the influences of higher civilization within the areas 
of more primitive culture, such as, for instance, Egyptian and Meroitic 
influences in Africa. 

(3) Since specialists in ancient oriental civilizations usually restrict their 
interests more or less to their own circumscribed field of research, the 
ethnolpgist will have to deal with the problems of culture contact and 
cultural relations between the various higher civilizations. 

These are the basic ideas on which co-operative work of ethnologists and 
students of higher civilizations can be founded. This may be exemplified by 
ancient Egypt. 

A few years ago, Walter Gline 2 pointed out that Egyptologists and historians 
like Erman and Ranke did not sufficiently consider the fact of cultural change. 
He complains that they depicted people who lived centuries apart just as if 
they had belonged to a single community. This complaint is very definitely out 
of date. On the contrary, the problems of culture change in ancient Egypt have 
constantly been discussed by Egyptologists in recent years. 3 

The Vienna School of Egyptology, represented mainly by the late Professor 
Czermak, came to the following conclusions: 4 

In the beginning, Egypt was divided into three parts: the East Delta, the 
West Delta, and the South, with distinct systems of economy and religion and 

Ethnology and High Civilization, Exemplified by Ancient Egypt 283 

distinct cosmological ideas. The East Delta was first inhabited by fishermen 
and only later herdsmen became prevalent. The male principle was prominent, 
Osiris being the representative of the patriarchal organization. The West 
Delta was inhabited by agricultural people. Here there seems to have been a 
center of the Mother-goddess complex with Isis and all her mysteries, and traces 
at least of matriarchal order have been noticed. In the South in Upper 
Egypt climate, fauna and flora were different from our days. The forests were 
inhabited by local groups of hunters. 

Each of these primordial districts was a world in itself, being at the same 
time in constant contact with the neighboring countries. While the East Delta 
tended toward Asia and was affected by Semitic influences, the West Delta and 
the South were in close connection with the African world. Even in these remote 
times the perpetual movement of cultural influence and change seems obvious, 
and thus, from prehistoric times onward, the complete isolation of any culture 
seems to be illusory. Of course, when a high civilization appears and spreads, it 
seems so\powerful and unique that it gives the impression of having emerged by 
itself. But as soon as we come to its roots and basic elements, the picture changes. 

The Egyptian civilization arose around the year 3000 B.C. From time 
immemorial the two lands of the Nile valley, Upper and Lower Egypt, were 
conscious of their distinctness and were traditionally competitive. It was the 
person of the Pharaoh who united them into a single nation. The God-king 
became the incorporation of authority and responsibility for both countries. 
While Upper Egypt was tied to the desert and to Africa, Lower Egypt faced the 
Mediterranean Sea and Asia. Mesopotamian influence, however, reached all 
of Egypt. 5 

To cite just one instance of the ideas common to Egypt and southwestern 
Asia, let me quote a passage from one of the Pyramid Texts : 

"Thou are welcome in peace, oh N.N., 
Thou art welcome by your Father, 
Thou art welcome in peace, oh N.N. 
Thou art welcome by your Son. 
Opened are the porches of Heaven, 
Opened are the porches of the starry Sky." 6 

The text will sound quite familiar to many of you because the wording resembles 
that of the Psalms. 

The leading idea of Egyptian civilization finds its outstanding and un- 
changeable expression in its cosmology. Here, symbolism and belief are worked 
out to a rich religious and philosophical system which, later on, influenced the 
Greeks and Romans. We know that Plato went to Egypt in order to be initiated 
into the beliefs and mysteries of this life and the life hereafter. Many ideas later 
found in New Platonism 7 and even in medieval Scholasticism appear, for the 
first time in ancient Egypt. Here it was, actually, that for the first time in the 
history of the world, thought became philosophically formulated and written 
down for the generations and civilizations to come. 

The principal subjects for the co-operation of ethnology and Egyptology 
can be summarized as follows : 

First: Ethnological topics of world-wide importance and their manifestations 
in Egypt. 

284 Men and Cultures 

Second : The spread of Egyptian cultural elements into Africa. 

Among the ethnological questions of world-wide importance the megalithic 
problem deserves special attention, not, of course, in the sense of Elliot Smith 
and Perry. 

Even though megalithic monuments 8 in the strict sense are exceedingly rare 
in Egypt so that we can be sure that megalithism did not originate there, 
Egyptian culture seems to have absorbed strong megalithic influences which, 
however, were immediately transformed and raised to a higher level. Many of 
the traits which, according to Professor Heine-Geldern, are characteristic of 
the megalithic complex, can be recognized in ancient Egypt, including even the 
forked wooden posts so frequent in the megalithic cultures of Asia and Africa. 
In Egypt their presence is definitely proved for the middle of the 2nd millen- 
nium B.C. This may eventually provide an important chronological clue to the 
age of African megalithic cultures in general. 

We come to the second point : Egypt's position as an intermediary for cultural 
elements beyond its borders. Here it is particularly important to distinguish 
carefully between trends belonging to Near Eastern ancient civilization in 
general and typical Egyptian features. 

Within the limits of this paper I can cite only a few instances of Egyptian 
influence in Africa. 

Let us turn to mythology first. Among the myths of creation, many themes 
from Egypt seem to have spread into Africa. So the Nuer believe that the world- 
mother sprang from a tree like the Egyptian goddess Hathor. The Yukun of the 
Central Sudan believe in a world-mother who created the world by lifting up 
the sky from the earth just like the Egyptian air-god Shu. The celestial cow- 
goddess in Egypt finds an equivalent among the Shilluk who believe that the 
primordial cow created the first man by spitting him out of its mouth. 

The mother-son legend among the Bachama of the Central Sudan corres- 
ponds to the Isis-Horus complex in ancient Egypt. The Egyptian cosmology of 
Hermopolis knows four couples of primeval gods, the male gods being frog- 
headed and the goddesses snake-headed. We meet the same reptiles in the 
mythology of the Baule where they represent primordial beings. The best- 
known example for Egyptian influence in Africa is, of course, the complex 
connected with divine Kingship. 9 We can find it right across the Sudan from 
Abyssinia to the Atlantic Ocean and from Uganda and Nyoro to Shonaland. 

The leading idea in all these kingdoms is the same the divine king being the 
earthly appearance of God, the entire creation depending on him. He is supposed 
to marry an equivalent woman; therefore the king's sister ranks first as such. 
In this connection the complex of brother-and-sister marriage 10 has to be taken 
into consideration. On the basis of a careful analysis of texts concerning those 
Egyptian women who used to be described as brothers' wives I came to the 
conclusion that in ancient Egypt not a single case could be proved of a full 
brother-and-sister marriage. It was always a question of either half-brothers and 
half-sisters or even cousins. The institution of the so-called brother-and-sister 
marriage is widely known in Africa, but characteristically only in higher cultures 
with strongly marked social and economic stratification. We meet it in Darfur, 
among the Shilluk, in Lunda, among the Fulani, in Dahomey and Monomatapa 
and many other countries. 

Just as in ancient Egypt, in the above-mentioned areas of Africa a similar 
prevalent position is granted to the Queen Mother, the King's Wife and the 
King's Sister a typical sign for a certain influence of mother-right. 

Ethnology and High Civilization, Exemplified by Ancient Egypt 285 

Recent research is coming more and more to the conclusion that these and 
many other instances of Egyptian influence were transmitted to the southern 
parts of Africa mainly through the ancient Nubian kingdoms of Meroe and 
Napata from where they spread either along the Nile toward the south or from 
the eastern Sudan by way of Darfur to West Africa. 

The study of the survival of ancient Egyptian customs in the living folk- 
culture of Egypt is another important task in which ethnologists and Egypto- 
logists will have to cooperate. This has repeatedly been pointed out by a number 
of authors. The fact that Egyptian ethnologists, with their comprehensive knowl- 
edge of the folklore of their own country, are at present taking particular 
interest in this subject will no doubt yield important results. For instance, 
present funerary rites and customs 11 resemble the ancient Egyptian in many 
ways : the ancient Egyptian Ka-priest who recited the prescribed text, has his 
equivalent in the present religious man who recites the Koran. The ancient 
Egyptian wailing women are replaced by professional women who cry for the 
dead. The body of the dead was rubbed with hennah among the ancient 
Egyptians; the modern Egyptians colour their faces with indigo and put dust 
and mud on their heads. It is extraordinary that even the provision of the dead 
with food is practiced in our days among the Egyptians. 

It is certain that the study of an early high civilization in its different stages 
and in the diffusion of its cultural elements within a wide area will help to 
work out data important for further ethnological resemblances. 12 

Wien> Austria. 


1. Wilhelm Czermak, Vom grossen Gedanken Aegyptens (Archiv fuer aegyptische 
Archaeologie, 1 : (10), Vienna, 1938); Gertrud Thausing, Zum Sinn der Pyramiden 
(Anzeiger der philosophisch-historischen Klasse der Oesterreichischen Akademie der 
Wissenschaften, Nr. 7, Vienna, 1948). 

2. Walter Cline, Notes on Cultural Innovations in Dynastic Egypt (Southwestern 
Journal of Anthropology, 4 : (1)1, 1948). 

3. Wilhelm Gzermak, Der Seth der Hyksoszeit (Melanges Maspero 1:721-738, 
Cairo, 1935-38); Gertrud Thausing, Der aegyptische SchicksalsbegrifT (Mitteilungen 
des Deutschen Institutes fuer aegyptische Alter tumskunde in Kairo VIII, Berlin, 1939) ; 
Gertrud Thausing, Religioese Revolution im alten Aegypten (Wissenschaft und Weltbild 
3 : 9, Vienna, 1950) ; John A. Wilson, in Frankfort, Wilson, Jacobsen: Before Philosophy, 
pp. 110-1 11, Chicago, 1946). 

4. "Wiener Totenbuchkommission " with Wilhelm Czermak as Chairman. Wilhelm 
Czermak, Aegypten und das iibrige Afrika (Koloniale Voelkerkunde. Tagungsband 
I der Beitraege zur Kolonialforschung, p. 110, Berlin, 1943). 

5. Cf. Henri Frankfort, The Birth of Civilization in the Near East, pp. 101, 109. 
Bloomington, 1951. 

6. Pyramid Text 412, Resurrection Text. Cf. Henri Frankfort and Mrs'. H. A. 
Frankfort, Before Philosophy, p. 241. 

7. Gertrud Thausing, Die Philosophic der Aegypter (not yet printed). 

8. Anna Hohenwart-Gerlachstein, Some Problems of Megalithic Culture in Ancient 
Egypt (Wiener voelkerkundliche Mitteilungen 2 : (2) 126-131, 1954). 

Robert Heine-Geldern, On Megalithic Cultures (not yet printed). 

9. Paul Hadfield, Traits of Divine Kingship in Africa (p. v, London, 1949); Gertrud 
Thausing, Altaegyptisches religioeses Gedankengut im heutigen Afrika (Wiener Bei- 
traege zur Kulturgeschichte und Linguistik V, Vienna, 1943); cf. Henri Frankfort, 
Kingship and the Gods (Chicago, 1948). 

286 Men and Cultures 

10. Anna Hohenwart-Gerlachstein, Zur Geschwisterehe im alten Aegypten und in 
Afrika (Wiener Beitraege zur Kulturgeschichte und Linguistik IX, Vienna, 1952). 

11. Mohamed Riad: Funerary rites and customs among Modern Egyptians (Wiener 
voelkerkundliche Mitteilungen, 23 (2) 112-118, 1954). 

12. Anna Hohenwart-Gerlachstein: Hochkultur und Ethnologic (Die Wiener Schule 
der Voelkerkunde. Festschrift zum 25-jaehrigen Bestand des Institutes fuer Voelker- 
kunde 1929-1954, pp. 101-110, Vienna, 1956). 


Samuel Noah Kramer 

It has long been my conviction that the ancient literate cultures brought to 
light in the course of the past hundred years or so by the combined efforts of 
the archaeologist and the philologist can be fruitfully analyzed and significantly 
interpreted from the point of view of comparative cultural anthropology. 
This is particularly true of the psychological aspects of their behavioral pattern: 
the motives, drives, values, aspirations, attitudes and beliefs which determined 
their world-view and their way of life. To be sure, the source material at our 
disposal is of a different character than that to which the cultural anthropol- 
ogist is accustomed. In the case of the ancient literate cultures, our information 
derives from the "dead letter" rather than from the live informant. But, given 
an adequate quantity of written records together with reasonably sound transla- 
tions, the ancient literary sources can to no little extent be made "to talk" as 
informatively and authoritatively as the living non-literate native. Especially 
is this true of the Sumerian culture which thrived in the third millennium B.C. 
in the southerly half of the country now known as Iraq. 

As no doubt all of you are aware, only a century ago nothing at all was known 
of the Sumerians and their civilization ; there was no recognizable trace either 
of the land Sumer or of the Sumerian people in the entire literature available 
to the scholars and archaeologists who some hundred years ago began excava- 
ting in Mesopotamia in search of the Assyrians and Babylonians. Today, as a 
result of the excavation of a number of significant Sumerian sites, the Sumerians 
are one of the best-known peoples of the ancient Near East. We now have a fair 
cross-section of their material culture: their public buildings and private homes, 
their architectural devices and building techniques, their tools, utensils, 
weapons, and all the varied products of their arts and crafts. In addition, there 
have been excavated in Sumer hundreds of thousands of clay tablets, inscribed 
with their economic, legal and administrative records. And though only a 
small proportion of these have been published to date, and in spite of the terse 
and ledger-like form of their contents, they do give a fair, though far from 
complete, picture of the Sumerian economic structure and social organization. 
One highly significant feature of many of these economic and administrative 
documents is the "date formula" which records one of the important events of 
the year to which the document is dated. The contents of these date formulae, 
together with those of numerous votive and commemorative inscriptions, and 
of a few precious historiographic documents, make possible the reconstruction, 
at least to some extent, of the Sumerian historical background. Finally and 
from the point of view of cultural anthropology, these are the most significant 
there have been excavated a considerable number of tablets and fragments 
inscribed with Sumerian literary works: myths and epic tales, hymns and 
laments, proverbs and essays. It is the texts of these documents which, once 

288 Men and Cultures 

reconstructed and translated, will reveal the ideas and ideals, the drives and 
motivations, the attitudes and beliefs in short, all of the behavioral traits and 
characteristics which helped to make the Sumerian culture function as it 

The present paper is an initial attempt to utilize the information furnished 
by some of these Sumerian literary documents in order to isolate and describe 
one of the motivating forces of Sumerian behavior, one which, unless I am very 
much mistaken, played a major role in the growth and development of Sumerian 
civilization the drive for superiority and preeminence. 

The idea that the will to superiority, the driving ambition for victory over a 
rival, was a predominant source of motivation in Sumerian behavior came to 
me first in the course of relatively recent attempts to piece together and translate 
a group of Sumerian poems and essays which the ancient scribes themselves 
categorized as "contests" or " disputations." The major ingredient of these 
literary debates consists of an argument between two rivals, in the course of 
which each of the opponents "talks up" his own importance in glowing terms 
without shame or inhibition, and "talks down" his opponent with sneers and 
scorn. The protagonists of these disputations are usually personifications of 
obviously contrasting pairs of seasons, animals, plants, metals, implements, 
and occupations, such as Summer and Winter, Cattle and Grain, Bird and 
Fish, Tree and Reed, Copper and Silver, Farmer and Shepherd. To cite just a 
few typical examples of the style used in these "contest" dialogues, here is one 
of the more intelligible portions of a speech addressed by Copper to Silver in 
the "Copper-Silver debate": 

"Silver, only in the palace do you find a station, that's the place to which 
you are assigned. If there were no palace, you would have no station; 
gone would be your dwelling-place. . . . (Four lines unintelligible] ... In the 
(ordinary) home, you are buried away in its darkest spots, its graves, its 
'places of escape' (from this world). When irrigation time comes, you don't 
supply man with the stubble-loosening copper mattock; that's why nobody 
pays any attention to you! When planting time comes, you don't supply 
man with the plough-fashioning copper adze; that's why nobody pays any 
attention to you! When winter comes, you don't supply man with the fire- 
wood-cutting copper axe; that's why nobody pays any attention to you! 
When the harvest time comes, you don't supply man with the grain-cutting 
copper sickle; that's why nobody pays any attention to you! . . . (Four lines 
unintelligible) . . . Silver, if there were no palace, you would have neither 
station nor dwelling-place; only the grave, the 'place of escape,' would be 
your station. Silver, if it were not for these places, you would have no place 
to be assigned to ! ... (One-and-a-half lines unintelligible) . . . Like a god you 
don't put your hand to any (useful) work. How dare you then to assail(?) 
me like a wolf(?) ? Get into your dark shrines(?) ; lie down in your graves!" 

Thus ends Copper's speech. The author then continues: 

The taunts which Mighty Copper had hurled against him made him (Silver) 
feel wretched; the taunts filled with shame(?) and bitterness made him 
smart(?) and wince(?) like water from a salty well. . . . (One line unintelligible) 
. . . Then did Silver give the retort to Mighty Copper: . . . 

(There follows Silver's bitter address to Copper, much of which is unintelligible 
at the moment.) . . . 

Rivalry and Superiority : Two Dominant Features of Sumerian Culture Pattern 289 

Or, to take a passage from the "Dispute between Summer and Winter": 
Then did Summer give the retort to Winter who had hurled taunts against 
him: "Winter, don't brag about your extraordinary strength! I know your 
lair(?). Let me tell where you 'hole up' in the city; you cannot find enough 
cover(?). You are a sickly (?) fellow, and weak-kneed! The fire-place (?), 
the very edge of the fire, the oven, that's your mountain (?) ! Your shepherds 
and herdsmen with (their) heavy (flocks of) ewes and lambs, the weak- 
kneed fellows, run before you like sheep from fire-place ( ?) to oven, and from 
oven to fire-place(?). During the height of the storm you sentence them to 
constant coughing(?). Because of you, the city people set up a constant 
chattering of teeth. During the water-drenched (?) days, no one walks the 
streets. The slave rejoices with the fire-place (?), and spends his days inside 
the house. The slave-girl does not go out into the downpour, and spends her 
time with clothes. During the winter, the fields are not worked, their furrows 
are not attended to. ... (Three lines unintelligible) . . . Don't you boast of 
your extraordinary strength; let me keep you straight on the rules and 
regulations (which govern you) 1" 

Finally here is a sample of a bragging speech by the shepherd-god Dumuzi, 
whose plea for marriage has just been rejected by the goddess Inanna in favour 
of the farmer-god Enkimdu: 

"The farmer (more) than I, the farmer (more) than I, 

the farmer, what has he more (than I) ? 
Enkimdu, the man of dike, ditch and plow, 
(More) than I, the farmer; what has he more (than I) ? 
Should he give me his black garment, 
I would give him, the farmer, my black ewe for it ! 
Should he give me his white garment, 
I would give him, the farmer, my white ewe for it ! 
Should he pour me his prime beer, 
I would pour him, the farmer, my yellow milk for it ! 
Should he pour me his good beer, 
I would pour him, the farmer, my m"m-milk for it! 
Should he pour me his seductive beer, 
I would pour him, the farmer, my . . . (?)-milk for it! 
Should he pour me his diluted beer, 
I would pour him, the farmer, my plant-milk for it ! 
Should he give me his good portions (?), 
I would give him, the farmer, my itirda-mlk for them! 
Should he give me his good bread, 
I would give him, the farmer, my honey-cheese for it ! 
Should he give me his small beans, 

I would give him, the farmer, my small cheeses for them! 
After I shall have eaten, shall have drunk, 
I would leave for him the extra cream, 
I would leave for him the extra milk ! 
More than I, the farmer, what has he more than I?" 

The competitive drive for superiority and preeminence played a large role 
in Sumerian formal education which entailed many years of school attendance 
and study. Together with the whip and the cane, it was consciously utilized 
by both parents and teachers to make the student exert himself to the utmost 


290 Men and Cultures 

to master the complicated but far from exciting curriculum in order to become 
a successful scribe and a learned scholar. Here, for example, is a passage taken 
from an essay on the daily life of a Sumerian school-boy, in which a teacher 
reassures, in semi-poetic words, an ambitious and aspiring student whose father 
had just lavished upon him a number of gifts: 

" Young man, because you did not neglect my word, did not forsake it, may 
you reach the pinnacle of the scribal art, may you become perfect in it! ... 
(Five lines omitted) . . . You will be the leader of your brothers; you will be the 
chief of your friends; you will rank as the highest of the school-men! " 

That rivalry and competition were rampant in the Sumerian school is attested 
by another essay, the text of which is only now in the process of reconstruction 
and translation. This essay consists largely of a disputation or verbal contest 
between two scribal aspirants actually mentioned by name: Enki-mansi and 
Girni-ishag, each of whom takes turns in extolling his own scribal competency and 
belittling that of his opponent. Now there is little likelihood that these two scribal 
competitors had actually existed in real life, in spite of the naming of names. 
On the other hand, there is no reason to doubt that the essay reflects faithfully 
the keen competition and bitter rivalry which marked Sumerian school life. 

This particular essay ends in a sentence which prompts a rather startling, but 
not illuminating, conjecture concerning another important facet of Sumerian 
culture, the emphasis on law and legality, the penchant for compiling law-codes 
and writing legal documents, which has long been recognized to have been a 
predominant feature of Sumerian economic and social life. This sentence reads: 

In the dispute between Enki-mansi and Girni-ishag, the teacher gives the 


The Sumerian word here used for "verdict" is the same term used for verdicts 
at court trials, and one cannot hold back the thought that the extraordinary 
importance which the Sumerians attached to law and legal controls is due, at 
least in part, to the contentions and the aggressive behavioural pattern which 
characterized their culture. 

Turning to the political scene, we now have at least two epic-tales celebrating 
the victory of the head of the Sumerian city-state of Erech over a presumptuous 
rival who ruled the city-state of Aratta, which was situated not in Sumer but 
probably in northwestern Iran. To judge from the contents of these two poems, 
it was the driving ambition of each of these rulers to break down the morale of 
his rival by a kind of "war of nerves" and thus make submissive vassals of him 
and his subjects. The tales are replete with taunts and threats carried back and 
forth by messengers and heralds, as well as with challenges and contests involving 
highly tempting mutual gifts, spell-binding sceptres, fights between champions, 
and struggles between magicians. Finally it is Enmerkar, the "lord" of Erech, 
who emerges as victor, and to whom, according to one of the poems, his 
defeated rival, the "lord" of Aratta offers his abject submission in these rather 
revealing words : 

"You are the beloved of Inanna, you alone are exalted 
Inanna has truly chosen you for her holy lap; 
From the lower (lands) to the upper (lands) you are their lord; 

I am second to you, 
From the (moment of) conception, I was not your equal, 

you are the 'big brother,' 
I cannot compare with you ever!" 

Rivalry and Superiority: Two Dominant Features of Sumerian Culture Pattern 291 

That the bitter rivalry between city-states and their rulers depicted in these 
two poems is not a mere literary motif, but a genuine reflection of prevalent 
conditions, is attested by what has long been known of the turbulent political 
history of Sumer, which was marked by frequent and disastrous struggles for 
mastery and supremacy between such states as Kish, Erech, Ur, Lagash and 

By this time it may have occurred to some in this room, as it did to me, that 
the rather extraordinary Sumerian preoccupation with rivalry, contests, and 
prestige is reminiscent, to no little extent, of another culture, more than ten 
thousand miles distant in space and some four to five thousand years removed 
in time, that of the Kwakiutl Indians of Vancouver Island on the northwest 
coast of North America. To be sure, the competition for superiority and pre- 
eminence did not take the all-pervasive and obsessive turn in the Sumerian 
culture that it took in that of the Kwakiutl; the Sumerians were neither quite 
so paranoid in temperament and attitude, nor so seemingly wasteful and 
destructive in their prestige-motivated practices as were the Kwakiutl. Never- 
theless, there is a marked parallelism between this facet of both the Sumerian 
and Kwakiutl behavioural patterns, one which should prove of no little value 
for comparative purposes. For example, when I read about the hymns full of 
inflated and bombastic self-glorification which the Kwakiutl chiefs recited 
unblushingly and without inhibition at their potlatches, it occurred to me at 
once that they are paralleled by a type of Sumerian literary composition which 
has always been somewhat of a psychological enigma : the self-laudatory royal 
hymn in which the Sumerian king recites his own virtues and achievements in 
the most extravagant and hyperbolic language. Characteristic, too, of the 
hymnal lore of both cultures is the constant use of expressions denoting and 
connoting the idea of "one and only," "the first," "the one who neither has 
nor brooks a rival." Nor, to judge from the hymns, is the coveted prestige limited 
to the "here and now"; both the Kwakiutl chief and the Sumerian king sing 
of far-distant fame and name. The Sumerian hymns, in particular, abound in 
references to poets, singers and musicians who will never cease glorifying the 
king and his achievements. 

The preceding parts of this paper have tried to present some fairly cogent 
evidence that the rivalry motive and the drive for superiority deeply coloured 
the Sumerian general outlook on life, and played an important role in their 
educational, political and economic institutions. All of which suggests the 
tentative hypothesis that, not unlike the role of competition and success in 
modern American culture, the aggressive penchant for controversy and the 
ambitious "hankering" for preeminence provided no little of the psychological 
motivation which sparked and sustained the material and cultural advances for 
which the Sumerians are not unjustly noted : irrigation expansion, technological 
invention, and monumental building, and the development of a system of 
writing. Sad to say, the passion for rivalry and superiority carried within it the 
seed of self-destruction; it helped to trigger the bloody and disastrous wars 
between the Sumerian city-states. By seriously impeding the unification of the 
country as a whole, it exposed Sumer to the external attacks which finally over- 
whelmed it. All of which provides us with but another historic example of the 
poignant irony inherent in man and his destiny. 

University Museum, 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 


Jean-Paul Leser 

The plow, together with a number of other culture traits, seems to be a good 
example of what American anthropologists call a "culture complex." In a 
book which, I assume, is no longer widely used, Wilson D. Wallis (1930: 21) 
defines the culture complex as a " cluster of traits which function as a unit." 
Others use similar definitions, e.g. Jacobs and Stern (1947: 300) call it "any 
functionally integrated . . . cluster of traits ..." However, it is also used in a 
somewhat different meaning, e.g. by E. Adamson Hoebel (1949:498): "An 
integrated system of culture traits organized about some nuclear interest." 
Anthropologists frequently have used the horse complex, sociologists the auto- 
mobile complex, as examples (Gillin 1948: 492; Cuber 1947: 114 f.). 

Agriculture necessitates a great number of implements in addition to the 
plow. According to the older agricultural textbooks, the minimum required 
equipment before the introduction of modern machinery consisted of the three 
traditional implements: plow, harrow and roller (Fischer 1919: 27). After the 
plow has done its work, it is absolutely necessary that the clods be broken up by 
the harrow. The harrow performs the additional function of pulling the weeds 
out of the soil which has been loosened by the plow (Fischer 1919: 37). Then, 
the roller completes the work of crushing the clods; the roller is needed also to 
pack down the soil in order to fill in the air space left in the lower soil after 
plowing (Fischer 1919: 39; Manninen 1933: 78, n. 1). 

We may confidently state that the harrow and the roller are so indispensable 
in supplementing the work of the plow that they must follow its introduction 
just as inevitably as traffic laws and filling stations will follow the introduction 
of the automobile. In neither case is diffusion necessary. If the nuclear trait, the 
automobile or the plow, is diffused, the cluster of traits which function with it as 
a unit must be and will be introduced, i.e. invented if they have not been 
borrowed together with the nuclear trait. 

The only trouble is that this is not the case the claims of the agriculturists 
notwithstanding. The statement I have just made is historically wrong as far 
as the plow complex is concerned. In Egypt the use of the plow can be docu- 
mented as early as the Old Empire (e.g. Leser 1931 : 249 ff.) while the harrow 
was never used in pre-Roman Egypt (Leser 1931 : 492, n. 135, and 541, n. 60; 
Leser 1928:439, 480). It was never invented there, although it was needed 
and all prerequisites for its invention were present. These prerequisites are: 
domesticated animals able to draw agricultural implements; the knowledge of 
how to harness animals; the use of implements drawn by animals; and hand 
implements used by human labor to break the clods and smooth the soil. 
Throughout the history of old Egypt, the work of the harrow was done by scores 
of laborers using hand implements, besides the hoe tools probably especially 
designed for breaking the clods (Leser 1931 : 262, 542, 568). Just as the work of 

Plow Complex, Culture Change and Cultural Stability 293 

scores of laborers digging up and loosening the soil had been superseded by the 
work of a pair of oxen in front of the plow, so also the work of the laborers who 
had to break the clods and smooth the soil could have been superseded by the 
harrow and the roller. To claim that human labor was expendable would be 
beside the point ; the plow, a labor-saving device, w as, after all, used in Egypt. 

In "newly cleared soil . . . still full of humus" which falls "apart almost at a 
touch" soil pulverization is hardly a problem (van Wagenen 1954: 222). 
But as soon as the "decrease in the amount of decaying vegetable matter has 
resulted in clods . . . the need of more efficient cultural implements" becomes 
paramount. Soil that did not require the harrow and the roller after plowing 
existed only in areas which had never been plowed in pre-Columbian times, as 
in America (van Wagenen 1954: 222). Theoretically, Europe, Asia and North 
Africa could not possibly do without the harrow and the roller. But Egypt did 
do without them. 

Outside of Egypt, the harrow is widely used. The roller, however, seems to 
be rare. It is quite old, definitely pre-Roman in the Middle East (Leser 1931 : 
487, n. 110), but seems to have become generally used only in very few areas 
before recent times. Sigurd Erixon assumes that it was introduced in Sweden 
during the transition period from the Middle Ages to the modern era (1935: 
315 f.; see also Jirlow 1936: 14). Although it seems to have been widely used 
in Scandinavia as early as the 16th century, it remained unknown in some 
districts of Denmark even in the beginning of the 19th century (Jirlow 1936: 14). 
In Estonia, it was very rare in the last part of the 18th century (Manninen 77 f.) ; 
in Germany, until the beginning of the 19th century (Leser 1928: 429). Also in 
other parts of Europe where it was not unknown, it was still not accepted 

Thus we are faced with the fact that in some parts of Europe the work of 
the plow was not complemented by the work of the roller through a period of at 
least 3000 years, from 1500 B.C. to 1500 A.D. (using time estimates which may 
be called extremely cautious and utterly conservative). 

Plow, harrow and roller, then, do not constitute a "complex" in the American 
sense of the word. On the other hand, they and a goodly number of other traits 
seem to constitute a "complex" in the sense in which the concept is used in 
continental anthropology. 

It seems to me that implements like the harrow and the roller belong to 
technology and to that part of culture for which Kroeber introduced the term 
"reality culture" (1952: 157; 1955: 301). In a paper read before the American 
Anthropological Association (Patai 1954) and in an article in the Middle East 
Journal, Patai (1955: 12 f.) has used Middle Eastern material to test the 
hypothesis that "the reality ingredients of a culture can be lent and borrowed 
much more readily than its value ingredients" and that "very often there is a 
lag in the acceptance of value culture, while reality culture is accepted readily." 
In the case of Estonia and Germany, there was a lag in the acceptance of the 
roller during centuries in which value ingredients were borrowed readily from 
other cultures. In the same areas there was a similar lag in the acceptance of a 
considerable number of other reality ingredients. The cases of the roller and the 
harrow which I have used as examples seem to me to be especially illuminating 
because the results of the work of these two is immediately convincing. Any 

294 Men and Cultures 

farmer who ever saw a harrow or a roller in operation and observed their 
effects, not to mention a man who used them himself, must realize their impor- 
tance. But although their technological merit was obvious and they were 
badly needed, they were not accepted. Even where they were well known from 
neighboring countries or from neighboring farmers they were not taken over. 
We are in these cases confronted with a strong resistance to technological 
ingredients, the advantages of which were overwhelming and convincing. 

On the other hand, there are certain technological changes in agriculture 
which seem to have been brought about by a change in value culture, not by 
technological superiority. I am referring to the incredible story of the threshing 
drag-board and the threshing roller in Sweden. 

Throughout the Middle Ages and up to approximately 1700, threshing was 
done in Central and Northern Europe nearly exclusively by means of the flail. 
In the Mediterranean area other methods were used. Each method was suitable 
for its area. In Central and Northern Europe where straw was indispensable 
for the home and for the stable, the advantage of the flail was that the straw 
was not destroyed by the threshing process. The use of the flail involved work 
which was hard but in a cool or a cold climate by no means unpleasant (van 
Wagenen 242). I have, in my youth, spent many hours in fall or winter swinging 
the flail, and these are no unhappy memories. The very idea, however, of 
being forced to swing the flail on a threshing floor in the open, in the merciless 
heat of a summer day in North Africa is a terrifying one. There, where the use 
of the flail would have been unbearable, it was not necessary because the straw 
was not needed. 

During the 18th century, a large part of Europe was fond of experimenting 
with agricultural innovations. In Sweden, at that time, threshing rollers were 
introduced and the threshing drag-board was imported from Bulgaria. While 
either kind of threshing implement was very useful in the southern climate and 
for the general conditions of Mediterranean economy, they were quite un- 
suitable for the north. Still the threshing roller was accepted readily in Scandi- 
navia. Its acceptance was due, it seems to me, not to technological superiority 
or even usefulness, but to a change in the value culture. 

The prestige which China enjoyed in Europe during the 18th century can 
be compared only with that which European and American technology 
enjoyed in the 19th century in many of the so-called " underdeveloped " 
countries. It is impossible to understand the 18th century without realizing the 
magnitude of the subservient willingness of Europe to imitate foreign cultures in 
general and Chinese culture in particular. China was praised in every respect. 
Chinese government and economic theory were idolized. Chinese art was 
adored. Chinese philosophy was worshipped. Chinese technological superiority 
was glorified. The Chinese way of life was admired and imitated even to 
such intimate matters as emotions and sex (Reichwein, passim; Leser 1931: 
449 f.). This adoration resulted in a conscious effort to copy and to take over 
Chinese achievements; and this, in turn, led to the willingness to adopt any- 
thing that was not European. Especially in agriculture, no era ever was so eager 
to experiment with foreign ideas and to accept foreign techniques. 

It was this attitude that paved the way for the European agricultural revolu- 
tion. It was this attitude that led a Swedish reformer who had lived as a diplomat 
in Turkey to pay for the travel of a Bulgarian farmer and his equipment to 
Sweden in 1750 and to have him demonstrate the use of the threshing drag- 
board which was (and is to this very day) so widely used in the Middle East 

Plow Complex, Culture Change and Cultural Stability 295 

(Leser 1928:425, 443 f.; Berg 1931a: 169-173; 1932: 110-111). We are, in 
this instance, faced with a case of diffusion which is documented by historical 

The case of the threshing roller is not so clear (Trotzig 1943: 152). From 
1730 on, or even from an earlier date (Trotzig 159), Swedish reformers invented 
several kinds of threshing rollers apparently without directly imitating or import- 
ing similar instruments from those areas where rollers were used for threshing 
(Berg 193 la: 188; Trotzig 152-164). I have to confess that I am not absolutely 
certain that foreign rollers really were not the direct models for these Scandi- 
navian inventions. After all, we know not only the instance of the Bulgarian 
farmer being brought to Sweden; Chinese winnowing machines likewise were 
brought there (Berg 1928; Berg 1931b:2f.; Berg 1932: 113 f.; Jirlow 1936: 
25-32). It seems possible, even probable to me, that rollers too were directly 
imported or at least that travelers who had seen them in other countries described 
them to the reformers. Gosta Berg ( 193 la: 188 f.; 1932: 112) assumes that the 
stimulus to the invention came from the Bible, not from a contemporary 
culture. He may be right, and in this case we would be faced with what Kroeber 
(1952: 344 ff.) calls "stimulus diffusion." But the Bible was just as widely read 
and as well known before 1 730. Yet before that time the spark did not ignite. 
Anyhow, whether it was stimulus diffusion or direct import, the threshing 
roller in Sweden goes back to some non-Swedish prototype. Its appearance in 
Sweden was due to the eagerness to reform the traditional type of agriculture, 
the fervor to make any kind of changes, and the ardor to borrow anything that 
smacked of the exotic traits characteristic of the century (Trotzig 163). 
The diffusionist zeal, the passionate enthusiasm for foreign cultures, especially 
for China, was something new in Europe. It was a change in value culture. First 
Chinese influences changed European value culture. Only then did the reality 
culture, in the case which we are discussing agricultural techniques and 
implements change . 

One of the Swedish threshing rollers (Berg 193 la: 185 and 189; Trotzig 
155a) seems to me to be almost identical with the so-called "Wooden Nigger" 
used in New York State (van Wagenen 240 f.). I do not believe that it was 
independently invented in this country. It would be equally ridiculous to 
believe that there has been independent invention or multilinear evolution on 
every New York farm where such a roller was used or in every Swedish province 
where it existed (see map, Trotzig 158). 

Berg ( 193 la: 190 f.) and Trotzig (1943: 163) think that the threshing roller 
offered advantages such as the saving of manpower. But so did the threshing 
drag-board which was not accepted in Sweden. The disadvantages of either, 
primarily the loss of straw, seem to me to have been more important than the 
advantages. Where threshing can be done in the open, as it is in the Mediter- 
ranean area, and where straw is not used, threshing rollers and similar 
instruments are suitable. In Sweden, at least in the case of some of the roller 
types, an especially built, very long barn was required to permit their use, a 
considerable outlay of labor and capital (Berg 193 la: 177-188). The attempted 
introduction of the drag-board and the actual introduction of the threshing 
roller were not due to necessity, but to a fad ; not to a real need, but to a fancy. 

The ideal threshing machine, no doubt, was not one of the roller type 
implements but an axle to which short flails were attached, the axle being 
turned by animals harnessed to a winch; they moved in a circle outside the 
barn, while the machine did the threshing inside. This machine saved labor 

296 Men and Cultures 

and permitted the preservation of the straw and was superior to both the roller 
and the simple flatl. It was, perhaps following a French precedent, suggested 
in Sweden as early as 1671 but was not adopted (Erixon 326). 


This brings us to the last point. The tenet that culture is an integrated whole, 
and that it functions, seems to have led some anthropologists to the unwarranted 
assumption that culture is a harmonious whole and that it functions well; 
"whatever is, is right." The history of agriculture is full of details which show 
that many things which "were" functioned very poorly, did not satisfy the needs 
which existed, and were forced upon poor sufferers without necessity. The plow 
itself is a point in question. It was and is to this very day in wide use even in 
soils where its effects are plainly detrimental (Faulkner, passim). The modern 
plow, considered superior to older type plows, never should be used in certain 
climates and on certain soils. Still the Germans introduced it at the beginning 
of the century in Tanganyika. The results were disastrous (Leser 1931: 432). 
The sad experience did not prevent a later generation from repeating the mistake. 
After World War II American plows were exported in large numbers to Greece 
and India, areas where that type of plow does harm, not good. 

The material I have presented leads to the following conclusions : sometimes 
culture elements for which there is a definite need are neither invented nor 
diffused and even not accepted where they are known. On the other hand, some- 
times culture elements are accepted which are not better but poorer than the 
elements which they replace. 

Frank Lynch (1955) has told us that Sol Tax prescribes from time to time for 
his students a heavy dose of Malinowski. That's good, I think, and I do it also. 
But perhaps it would widen the horizon of some of our students if we would 
prescribe once in a while a heavy dose of Spitteler. 

Hartford) Connecticut. 


Cuber, John F. 

1947. Sociology. New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts. 
Berg, Gosta 

1928. Den svenska sadesharpen och den kinesiska. In: Nordiskt Folkminne, Studier 
tilldgnadeC. W. von Sydow, pp. 19-24. Stockholm, G. E. Fritzes Hovbokhandel. 
1931a. Den svenska troskvagnen. Vdsterbotten, 1931: 169-192. 

b. Carl Johan Gronstedt som jordbruksreformator. Vdstmanlands fornminnes- 

forenings drsskrift, 1931: 169-192. 
1932. Stunande skodar modornas Ion. Fataburen, Nordiska museets och Skansens drsbok, 

1932: 101-116. 
Erixon, Sigurd 

1935. Skultuna bruks historia. Del //, Bruksomradet och socknen. Stockholm, G. E. Fritzes 

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Faulkner, Edward H. 

1943. Plowman's Folly. New York, Grosset and Dunlap. 
Fischer, Gustav 

1919. Landwirtschaftliche Maschinenkunde. Leipzig, B. G. Teubner. 
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1948. The Ways of Men. New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts. 

Plow Complex, Culture Change and Cultural Stability 297 

Hoebel, E. Adamson 

1949. Man in the Primitive World. New York, McGraw-Hill Book Co. 
Jacobs, Melville, and Bernhard J. Stern 

1947. Outline of Anthropology. New York, Barnes & Noble. 
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1936. Bidrag till ndgra Europeiskajordbruksredskaps historic.. Stockholm, O. L. Svansbacks 

Boktryckeri A.-B. 

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of Anthropology, pp. 293-311, Chicago, University of Chicago Press. 
Leser, Paul 

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Dorothy Libby 

Throughout the three centuries of recorded contacts with Europeans, the 
Chukchi native inhabitants of northeastern Siberia have been reported as 
proud, self-confident people, who felt themselves and their way of living to be 
different from those of other peoples. I have considered here the justification for 
this feeling of ethnic identity by examining the durability of various elements of 
Chukchi culture and the uniqueness of them. 

Information on the Chukchi begins in the middle of the seventeenth century, 
although it is not until the end of the eighteenth century that there are more 
than brief statements on them. This information varies in scope, dependability 
and in quantity over the years, from the meagre statements by early traders, 
Cossacks, or minor officials, most of whose reports are available to us through 
the later collections and publications of Pallas and Miiller; 1 casual observations 
in the writings of adventurers, traders, and whalers; 2 more weighty reports and 
notes of explorers and government officials like Merck, Vrangell, Maydell, and 
Sverdrup; 3 and the writings of Bogoraz 4 and of Soviet investigators and officials 
like Gurvich, Semushkin, Sergeev, and Vdovin, 5 to name only a few. 

From such sources which cover many aspects of Chukchi life, a listing can 
be made of some elements in Chukchi culture which were present in the earliest 
comparatively full description by Merck from his trip in 1791, and some of the 
reports of Pallas and Miiller, and which Soviet writers still mention as being 
present, at least in the 1930's and sometimes in later years. Some of these ele- 
ments are the following: their location in the northeastern part of Asia; their 
division into two basic economies the settled maritime, sea-mammal hunters, 
and the wandering reindeer breeders and hunters, together with their general 
cycle of existence based on these two modes of life; their dependence on animals 
for food, shelter, clothing, and various tools and implements; their language, 
with its different pronunciation of certain sounds by men and women ; some of 
their beliefs in shamanism and in spirits; some of their attitudes toward the 
natural world; some of their ceremonies; their attitude toward death; their 
interest in trade activity; their interest in practical elements from foreign areas; 
their lack of much social organization beyond the family group and kinship 
ties; their practice of sharing their wives with certain friends; their strongly 
independent character; their pride in being Chukchi and feeling that the 
Chukchi are a separate people. 

The continuity of such a number of important cultural elements has made 
descriptions of Chukchi culture seem much the same from one period to 
another. However, Chukchi culture has been receptive to influences from 
neighboring peoples, so that although the general pattern of the culture has 
remained for these three centuries, the content of even the more stable elements 
has changed. 

I shall now describe some of the changes in the stable elements just cited. 
Chukchi interest in trade has long been noted. 6 Since the main impetus for the 

Three Hundred Years of Chukchi Ethnic Identity 29& 

Russian expansion to the east in the seventeenth century was their search for 
furs, this is not surprising. It is interesting, however, to see how the Chukchi 
reacted to this demand by the Europeans and expanded their trading activities. 
By 1791 Merck 7 could describe the extensive trade in furs and European goods 
carried on by Chukchi middlemen and note that many of the furs which they 
traded at the Russian fairs in the Kolyma or the Anadyr river areas had been 
gotten by them from American natives. This inter-continental trade had reached 
such economic importance that when Zagoskin made his survey of the country 
around the mouth of the Yukon River in 1842-44 for the Russian American 
Company he was given special instructions to determine where company posts 
could be established to attract these furs which were being traded to native 
middlemen and going to the trade fairs in Asia. 8 These native patterns of trade 
proved quite enduring, though their importance diminished considerably after 
the middle of the eighteenth century when whalers and traders appeared on the 
northern Pacific coasts and as more trading points were set up in the interior 
of both North America and Asia. 9 Inter-continental contacts and trade con- 
tinued at least until 1926, 10 and probably sporadically up to post war times, 11 
though independent Chukchi traders have been considered hostile elements by 
the Soviets. 12 

In the realm of ideas, attitudes, and beliefs there is less obvious change, but 
even here European elements have been incorporated into Chukchi patterns 
of thought. For example, Merck observed that the Chukchi defense against 
illness and disease was the practice of shamanism, with drumming, songs, and 
the use of formulas, of sacrifices to the spirits, or of shunning contact with sick 
persons. 13 The Soviets report the presence of the same practices in the 1930's 
in their discussions of their efforts to introduce more modern medical practices 
into the area. 14 Merck at the end of the eighteenth century describes the efforts 
of a father to try to cure his boy through the sacrifice of a reindeer and the 
purifying effect of their household fire in much the same terms that Bogoraz 
used in the first decade of the twentieth century. 15 According to Bogoraz, 
diseases introduced by contact with the Europeans were visualized in the same 
way and were thought of as specially virulent kinds of evil spirits of the same 
type as their former spirits of sickness and were treated in the same way. 
Syphilis was visualized as a small red spirit, driving small red reindeer and 
stopping to camp in the red cloud berries, ever hunting for human prey. 16 

Sacrifices to the sea, various spirits, or to the sun to propitiate them and to 
make a journey or other undertaking successful are reported from the earliest 
descriptions. 17 Bogoraz describes the same kinds of sacrifices and notes that the 
spirits were considered to especially like alien foods, liquor and tobacco. He 
also describes a ceremony of this kind held over the furs the Chukchi were about 
to take to the fair for sale. 18 

Lavrov, a Soviet investigator, describes in 1947 some drawings by a former 
Chukchi shaman of a shaman performing various feats, including his ascending 
through several heavens and dealing with different spirits. His drawings of 
these feats and of the spirits were still recognized by his fellow Chukchi to be 
the spirits and events he intended them to be. This shows that at least part of 
the ideas concerning spirits and shamanism still exist. Indeed he reports more 
elaborate training and equipment for shamans than Bogoraz did. The same 
Chukchi shaman also drew the middle-sea-bird, a huge mythological bird 
which is met with far out from land in stormy and misty weather, swallowing a 
steamship. The ship would travel through the bird's alimentary canal and 

300 Men and Cultures 

come out the anus. This treatment of the steamship is the same as that of native 
boats recounted in their folk tales. 19 

Persistence of beliefs about spirits is also seen in their mythology. A study 
made of the tales collected by Bogoraz in 1901-02 showed that despite the 
contacts with Russians since the middle of the seventeenth century less than 
five per cent of the Chukchi tales showed Russian influence. 20 More recent 
collections show much more Russian influence, 21 but these have been made 
largely around the areas where the native cultural bases have been organized 
and where the natives have been subject to Soviet education and training. In 
these later collections, for example, airplanes, and political themes play a part; 
Lenin and Stalin are compared to the sun, poor oppressed herdsmen decide to 
join a collective farm and confound their former oppressor, the rich reindeer 
owner, and so on. However, even in these tales much of the older style and idea 
content remains. 

In the field of ivory carving, too, much of the subject matter remains tra- 
ditional animals, hunting scenes, mythological creatures although some 
new themes have been introduced in Soviet times. The carving of ivory by the 
Maritime Chukchi also expanded greatly during the nineteenth century through 
sales to whalers and traders. These purchasers would often tell the Chukchi the 
kind of objects that they wanted and sometimes they would show them new 
techniques. The Soviets have continued to support this art and have introduced 
new tools and taught new methods to the Chukchi, including realistic portrait 
engraving, perspective, and flat and bas-relief work. 22 

In the matter of settlement patterns, the Maritime Chukchi have had village 
sites along the Pacific and Arctic coasts since the times of early contact. 23 
These have continued to the present day, and the Soviets have chosen some of 
them for their own settlement sites and for scientific stations. 24 Many maritime 
Chukchi have been organized into combines and cooperatives for economic 
pursuits and now have begun to live in wooden buildings instead of their 
former semi-subterranean type of house and their tents. 25 Some of the coastal 
natives had begun to buy wooden structures as early as 1912. 26 Most of the 
Reindeer Chukchi continued their wandering life, following the movement of 
their herds at least into the 1940's. Large collective farms have been established 
now which many of the reindeer people have joined. On these farms there is 
usually a settlement where women and children may stay, where a school, 
storehouses, and other buildings are located, and where families may live in 
wooden houses instead of tents. The herders of reindeer, however, still live in 
their tents as they follow the reindeer. 27 

Even such a basic item as reindeer breeding has changed considerably. 
Leaving aside the question of origin of the Chukchi and their original form of 
culture, it has been shown that reindeer breeding increased in importance for 
them in the nineteenth century, the herds becoming larger. Maritime Chukchi 
are reported as owning more reindeer also. At the same time wild reindeer 
became more scarce and the Chukchi had to depend more on their herds. 28 
Also, the Chukchi continued to learn in historic times various aspects of 
reindeer culture and techniques from their southern and western neighbors. 29 
Today instead of herds belonging to individual owners, many of the reindeer 
are on large collective farms where they are looked after by herdsmen belonging 
to the farm, but with the advice and help of Soviet technicians and veteri- 
narians. 80 One element that the Soviets introduced quite early was the use of 
dogs to help in the herding of the reindeer. 31 

Three Hundred Years of Chukchi Ethnic Identity 301 

Thus, when we consider the more permanent elements in Chukchi culture 
we see that the Chukchi have not been equally receptive to alien influences in 
all parts of their culture. What could be seen as practical and useful to them 
in their way of living has been adopted by them domestication of reindeer, 
metal tools, and European foods to tide them over famine periods are some of 
these. The basic family grouping has been a conservative element, and the 
rentention of the Chukchi language another. Elements dependent on the natural 
environment have also been conservative. Other objects (except those with 
prestige attached to them) and different ideas have had less acceptance. Some 
of the reasons for this non-acceptance of alien ideas in the past may be that 
foreigners who did visit them were not obviously on a higher plane of civiliza- 
tion than they. Also, most of them had to depend on Chukchi help and advice 
to exist in the country. 

Chukchi culture, apart from the language, seems to have little that is unique 
about it. Much of their reindeer economy was derived from their neighbors. 
Their maritime economy is very similar to that of their Eskimo neighbors. 
Their mythology was shown by Bogoraz and others to be closely related to that 
of the northwest coast of North America. Birket-Smith and others have shown 
the wide distribution of many other of their culture elements in the circum- 
polar area. From western culture they accepted and incorporated into their 
way of life methods of trapping, metal tools, pots, implements, guns, matches, 
motorized whale boats, tobacco, tea, and foods. 

There is only a slender basis in the facts presented here to justify Chukchi 
belief in their uniqueness. 

Another result of this study has been the demonstration of the flexibility of 
the Chukchi, who have adjusted to changing living conditions while retaining, 
at least until recent times, their sense of cultural separateness. I should like to 
suggest on the basis of this study, that this feeling of ethnic identity was not 
dependent on any particular manifestation of Chukchi culture, but that in part 
it was dependent on their own belief in it. I believe that this may also be the case 
with other small native groups who have persisted as separate peoples. 

Washington, D.C. 


1 . Vdovin also quotes and abstracts early documentary sources. 

2. E.g., Ashton, Brahe, Cochrane, DeWindt, Niedieck, Swenson. 

3. Merck; Maydell; Sverdrup, 1921, 1926; Wrangell, 1839, 1841. 

4. Bogoraz, 1904-9. 

5. Gurvich, 1952; Semushkin, 1936, 1948; Sergeev, 1947; Vdovin. 

6. E.g., Pallas, Vol. I, pp. 245-248, Vol. IV, pp. 105-111; Miiller, pp. 6-7, 43, 
56-60, 119, 515; Vdovin, passim. 

7. Merck, pp. 188-189. 

8. Zagoskin, pp. 506-507. 

9. E.g., Bogoraz, 1904-9, Chap. 3; Maydell, passim, especially Chaps. 2, 3. 

10. Jenness, p. 78, Plate XIB. 

11. Kolarz, p. 92. 

12. Semushkin, 1948; Sergeev, 1947, pp. 135, 146, 156; Zelenin, 1938, p. 22. 

13. Merck, pp. 56-57, 67-69. 

14. A., I.; A, V.; Semushkin, 1936. 

15. Bogoraz, 1904-9, Chaps. 12-16; Merck, pp. 68-69. 

16. Bogoraz, 1904-9, p. 297. 

17. Merck, pp. 8, 56-57; Vdovin. 

302 Men and Cultures 

18. Bogoraz, 1904-9, pp. 370, 388, 391. 

19. Lavrov. 

20. Nikiforov. 

21. E.g., Sergeev, 1951, 1952. 

22. Antropova; Ivanov; Lavrov. 

23. Bogoraz, 1904-9, pp. 1-32; Vdovin. 

24. Sergeev; Zelenin. 

25. Gurvich; Sergeev. 

26. Kallinikov, pp. 178-179. 

27. Gulin and Kravchenko; Gurvich; Shamshurin. 

28. Bogoraz, 1904-9, pp. 70-97. 

29. E.g., Bogoraz, 1904-9, pp. 70-97; Sverdrup, 1921, passim. 

30. Sergeev, 1947; Shamshurin. 

31. Bogoraz, 1929. 

32. Bogoraz, 1902. 

33. Birket-Smith, especially Part 2, pp. 234-380. 


A., I. 

1938. "Usilim bor'bu protiv shamanstva," Sovetskaia Arktika, 10-11 : 107-111. 

1935. "U Chukoch v Chaunskoi gube," Sovetskh Sever, 1935, 2 : 60-64. 
Antropova, V. V. 

1953. " Sovremennaia Ghukotskaia i eskimosskaia reznaia kost'," Sbornik, Muzei 

antropologii i etnografii, 1 5 : 5-96. 
Ashton, James M. 

1928. Ice-bound; a Trader's Adventures in the Siberian Arctic. New York, London. 
Birket-Smith, Kaj 

1929. "The Caribou Eskimos, Material and Social Life and Their Cultural Posi- 
tion," Report, 5th Thule Expedition, 1921-24, Vol. 5. 

Bogoraz, V. G. 

1902. "The Folklore of Northeastern Asia, as Compared with that of Northwestern 

America," American Anthropologist, n.s., 4 : 577-683. 
1904-1909. "The Chukchee," Memoirs of the American Museum of Natural History, 11. 

1929. " Neue Daten iiber die Ethnographic der kleinen Volkerschaften des Nordens," 
Anthropos, Ephemeris, 24 : 517-521. 

Bogoraz, V. G., and N. J. Leonov 

1930. " Cultural Work among the Lesser Nationalities of the North of the U.S.S.R.," 
Proceedings of the 23rd International Congress of Americanists, pp. 445-450. 

Brahe, Herman 

1859. "Ein Winter bei die Tschuktschen," Westermann's Jahrbuch der Illustrierten 

Deutschen Monatshefts, 6 : (32) 180-195; 6: (33) 270-290. 
Cochrane, John Dundas 

1824. Narrative of a Pedestrian Journey through Russia and Siberian Tartary, from the 
Frontiers of China to the Frozen Sea and Kamtchatka; Performed During the Tears 
1820, 1821, 1822, and 1823. London, Philadelphia, New York. 
DeWindt, Harry 

1898. Through the Gold-Fields of Alaska to Bering Straits. London. 
Gulin, Viacheslav and P. Kravchenko 

1950. " Chukotka," Ogonek, 1 1 : 24-25, March. 
Gurvich, O. S. 

1952. " Etnograficheskaia ekspeditsiia v nizhne-Kolimskii i sredne-Kolimskh raionii 
lakutskoi ASSR v 1951 Godu (predvaritePnh otchet)," Sovetskaia Etnogrqfiia, 
3 : 200-209. 

Three Hundred Years of Chukchi Ethnic Identity 303 

Ivanov, S. V. 

1954. "Materialy po izobrazitePnomu iskusstvu narodov sibiri XlX-nachala XX 

v," Trudy instituta etnogrqfii, n.s., 22 : (3) 407-476. 
Jenness, Diamond 

1929. "Little Diomede Island, Bering Strait," Geographical Review, 19: 78-86. 
Kallinikov, N. F. 

1912. Nash krainii Severo-Vostok. St. Peterburg. 
Kolarz, Walter 

1954. Peoples of the Soviet Far East. London, New York. 
Lavrov, I. P. 

1947. "Risunki Onno: k mifologii chukchei," Sovetskaia etnogrqfiia, 2 : 122-133. 
Maydell, Gerhard 

1893-1896. "Reisen und Forschungen im Jakutskischen Gebiet Ostsibiriens in den 
Jahren 1861-1871," Beitrdge zur Kenntniss des Russischen Reiches, 4. St. Peters- 
Merck, Karl H. 

1814. "Nachrichten von den Sitten und Gebrauchen der Tschuktschen, gesammelt 
von Dr. Karl Heinr. Merck auf seinen Reisen im nordostlichen Asien. (aus 
einer Handschrift)," Journal fur die neuesten Land- und Seereisen, 16 : 1-27, 
184-192; 17:45-71, 137-152. 
Miiller, Gerhard Friedrich 

1758-1760. Sammlung Russischer Geschichte, Bd. 3. St. Petersburg. 
Niedieck, Paul 

1907. Kreuzfahrten im Beringmeer; neue Jagden und Reisen. Berlin. 
Nikiforov, A. I. 

1937. "Chukotskii skazochnik i russkaia skazka," in Pamiati V. G. Bogoraza, 

1865-1936. Institut etnografii, pp. 207-212. 
Pallas, Peter Simon 

1781-1796. Neue Nordische Beytrdge zur physikalischen und geographischen Erd- und 
Volker-beschreibung, Naturgeschichte und Oekonomie. Vol. 1-6. St. Petersburg, 
Semushkin, T. Z. 

1936. "Chukotskaia Kul'tbaza," Sovetskaia Arktika, 6 : 84-86. 

1948. Alitet Ukhodit v Gori. Moscow. 
Sergeev, Mikhail Alekseevich 

1947. "Malye narody Severa v epokhu sotsializma," Sovetskaia Etnografiia, 4 : 126- 

1951. Skazki narodov Severa. Moscow, Leningrad. 

1952. "Fol'klor narodov Sibiri," Sibvrskie ogni, 31 : (2) 179-183. 
Shamshurin, I. U. 

1953. " Vesna na Kolyme," Vokrug sveta, 9 : 1 1-16. 
Sverdrup, H. U. 

1921. "Blandt Rentsjuktsjere og Lamuter," in Roald Amundsen Nordostpassagen, 

Maudfaerden langs Asiens Kyst 1918-1920, Kristiania. 
1926. Tre Aar i Isen med "Maud" med et Tillaeg om en Slaedereise rundt Tsjuktsjerhalveen 

Swenson, Olaf 

1944. Northwest of the World; Forty Tears Trading and Hunting in Northern Siberia. New 

Vdovin, I. S. 

1944. "Rasselenie narodnostei severo-vostoka Azii vo vtoroi polovine XVII i 
nachale XVIII w," Izvestiia, Vsesoiuznoe geograficheskoe obshchestvo, 
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Vrangel', F. P. 

1839. "Statistische und ethnographische Nachrichten iiber die Russischen Besit- 
zungen an der Nordwestkiiste von Amerika . . .," Beitrdge zur Kenntniss des 
Russischen Reiches, 1 . St. Petersburg. 

304 Men and Cultures 

Vrangel', F. P. 

1841. Puteshestvie po Sievernym Beregam Sibiri i po Ledovitomu Moriu, Sovershennoe v 1820, 

1821, 1822, 1823 i 1824 gg St. Petersburg. 

Zagoskin, Lavrentii Aleksieevich 

1848-1849. "Ueber die Reise und Entdeckeungen des Lieutenant L. Zagoskin im 
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552,613-672; 7:429-512. 
Zelenin, D. K. 

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Revoliutsii," Sovetskaia Etnografiia, 1 : 15-52. 


Nils Lid 

In giving some features of Nordic magic with special regard to the sorcerer's 
spiritual habitus and his spiritual journey, my aim is to try to build a basis for 
interpreting symbolic pictures on the membranes of conjuring drums, and 
symbolic figures which were traditionally tied to or put in those drums them- 
selves, and to interpret corresponding figures on rock carvings. 

Nordic ecstatic magic is mainly preserved in Norse legendary tradition. 
The sorcerer fell into a trance, and his body was said to pass into other planes 
of existence for instance, in the shape of a wolf or a bear. Ecstatic trans- 
figuration before a battle is also linked to certain warriors, called in Old Norse 
berserks. Their condition was characterized by fits of rage, the warriors behaving 
like the beasts of prey they were supposed to represent. According to the Norse 
poems of the 9th century, which are contemporary sources of information, these 
warriors could behave and roar as bears or as wolves, depending upon their 
disguise and their name, which later was derived from either bear or wolf. 
In their ecstasy they apparently wore part of, or the whole of, a bear's or a 
wolf's skin, thus appearing more or less as man-bears and werewolves. 

In the legends we have a parallel tradition, corresponding to beliefs in many 
parts of the world. In a saga there is, for example, a story told about a Viking 
who was very fierce, fighting in a battle in the shape of a bear, his body lying 
unconscious in his home at the same time. 

This capacity for transfiguration belonged to particular families. Thus it is 
told about the famous Egil Skallagrimsson, his father and his grandfather, that 
they all were liable to become spellbound and to receive another shape in 
other words, become berserks. From this habit the grandfather got his name 
"Evening Wolf," Kveldulf, as he got his spells in the evening. Many other Old 
Norse personal names had a similar origin. There are still many Norwegians 
having the name "Nightwolf," Notiulv. Several Old Norse sorcerer's terms and 
stories show that the sorcery was conducted in the evening or the night. 

Regarding these personal names we must go back to an epoch when the 
person got his name because he was just what the name implied. The meaning 
of the name was there in an appellative, which gave the personal name its 

The habit of becoming transfigured into a beast through ecstatic magic is 
very similar to the usual shamanism. A conjuring drum with a special name, 
used as an ecstatic medium in the same way as the well-known Lapp drum, was 
endemic to the Norwegians, both of them being a special form of the Arctic 
or Subarctic drum. The Norwegian and the Lapp traditions are often mixed up. 
It is related in the oldest history of Norway, written in Latin in the 12th 
Century, that Lapps used a conjuring drum which contained miniatures of the 
vehicle needed by the sorcerer for his spiritual journey, the names of them 
partly given in Norwegian but having Latin diminutive endings. It is here told 
that the conjuring drum which the sorcerer lifted up in the air during his dance 
and song was filled by small figures of whales, harnessed reindeer, skis, and a 
boat with oars. The history continues: "The spirit of the sorcerer should use 

306 Men and Cultures 

these vehicles on his journey over snow heights and steep mountain sides or 
deep seas." It is clear that he is imagined to be in his boat on the sea, driving 
with reindeer, or running on skis on land. This tallies with his cosmological 
thoughts of mountains and seas in his other world. But the whale-figures indicate 
that he also can be in whale's shape on his journey through the sea. It is told 
in the text that the sorcerer was in a whale's shape in the sea where he was 
wounded and then killed by other sorcerers' sharp poles, the name indicating 
that this was a special Norwegian form of sorcery well known in Norway even 

As is well known, in the Arctic and Subarctic drums there were corresponding 
figures. The shaman's belief was that this world was his microcosmos, and the 
other world which he could reach by his spiritual flight was his macrocosmos. 
The Siberian shaman for instance, as is well known, could perform rites in the 
tree trunk which was the center pole of his shaman hut before he was transported 
in trance to another world. 

Especially important for the understanding of the vehicular figures in the 
conjuring drum which I have described is a Norwegian report from Finmark, 
dated 1767, to the following effect: "the Lapp shaman should shout just before 
falling in his trance: 'Prepare the reindeer! Launch the boat!"' 

The Lapp conjuring drums had more elaborate figures on the membrane than 
the corresponding Arctic drums, depicting places in this and in the outer or 
upper world. The membrane was in this way a kind of map of the areas the 
sorcerer was to pass on his spiritual flight. But some figures depicted subjects 
connected with his intended spiritual movements. Thus you will find skiers, 
reindeer, and boats. Figure 1 shows such skiers from various Lapp drums, 
taken from Dr. Manker's great work on the subject. They should illustrate 
the symbolic implication very well. 

When we turn to the rock carvings we have to remember that there is a long 
interval of time between what I have been talking about and the Stone Age 
rock-carvings which date back about 4000 years before our own time, whereas 
the medieval drum mentioned dates back only 800 years. The skiers in these 
carvings are also very important, as they are in fact the first fixed points in 
ski history. 

Figure 2 is one of the figures on a carving in Norwegian Nordland county. 
This figure is a skier. You will recognize him from the curve of his knees and 
from the whole position. He has something in his hands which looks like an ax 
or perhaps a ski pole. The horns or long ears on his head are peculiar. Dr. 
Gjessing, who studied these carvings in the thirties and who himself uncovered 
this figure which was overgrown, concluded that this skier had his headgear 
as a magic hunting device. This man is in a downhill position compared with 
the other figures which are found to the left. 

Figure 3 shows the figures in the middle. Here is also a skier in the same 
position, but something is lacking in the middle, where it is unfinished. To the 
left are a species of deer, an elk, a whale, and an unfinished boat. That this is a 
boat will be seen from the last picture (Figure 4) of this carving, where we find 
a complete one, a seal following the unfinished boat on the other picture, a 
whale again, and a small figure of a deer. 

On the coast of Norway the seal is the most common subject of transfiguration 
in recent folklore. It is curious to note that the other figures of this carving all 
correspond to those contained in the conjuring drum which has been described: 
the deer, the whales, the boats, the skiers. Both in the case of the complete boat 

North European Shamanism 307 

and the skis the man is portrayed in the carving as on the membrane of the 

The motifs in these carvings must be closely related to the descriptive scenes 
carved on stone along the coasts of Lake Onega and the White Sea at approxi- 
mately the same period. 

Fig. 1. Skiers Represented on Lapp Drums 

Figure 5 depicts a man in the shape of a beast, a bear or a wolf, following on 
skis after a deer. The man's headgear is characterized by the ear and the gaping 
mouth. Note the tail. The peculiar thing the man has in his hands could be 
compared with the corresponding object in the hands of the skiers from north 

These eastern rock carvings, which were described by the Russian archeolo- 
gist Ravdonikas, have many figures in association with elk and reindeer, which 
may be interpreted as hunting scenes. Reindeer, elk, and red deer have played 
an important role in the prehistoric hunting life of northern Europe as a whole. 

308 Men and Cultures 

One of the White Sea carvings (Figure 6) contains nude skiers on a cross- 
country run, with ski poles. Their faces are peculiar. If you consider all the 
symbolism in these carvings, and especially all birds depicted there, you may 
interpret them as birds' faces! A birdlike appearance is quite common in 
shaman tradition as symbolizing his spiritual flight. 

In the Onega carving the important thing is the man's shape of a beast of 
prey. When the hunter was in such a disguise he had in some way persuaded 
himself that this was a reality; he imagined himself to have the power of the 
beast, as did the berserks also. Often the disguise was very naive, as is well- 
known in different parts of the world. A characteristic Arctic example is given 
by Knud Rasmussen in his work on the Eskimo of the Coronation Gulf. The 
sorcerer there induced people to think that he was in a wolf's or bear's shape by 
letting real wolf's or bear's teeth appear to grow out of his mouth. 

The use of skis in the sorcerer's preparation for his spiritual journey may have 
a special meaning. There is a medieval Norwegian tradition about the ski 
hero Heming, whose famous ski run was down a steep mountain. His name means 
"He who easily gets into a transfiguration." He was, according to the legend, 
initiated by the Lapps when he was seven years old. The legend says he then 
"lost his mind"; in other words, he could attain a state of ecstasy. In the 
medieval ballads he is given another name when he is himself, a use of double 
names known also elsewhere in Norse tradition regarding transfiguration. 

Reality and imagination are mixed up in the tradition of this ski hero. In 
studies of this subject I have tried to show that the reason for his ski run is a 
widespread belief that one will be a good sorcerer or the like often letting himself 
swoop down from a steep mountain, and in that way acquire a magical ability 
to fly into another world. 

Finally, I want to stress that the legends presented here are explained by the 
general tendency in folklore and religion for simple information about habits, 
customs, and rites to develop in the course of time into legends about single 
events. Cult myths should be, I suppose, the best examples of this. 

Oslo, Norway. 

Fig, 2* Rock of Skier 

Fig, 3, Rock Carving of 

Fig. 4. Rock Carving of Boat 

Fig, 5. Ruck Carving of Skier 
Knt if twin or flrrr 

Fig. 6, of of 




Edwin M. Loeb 

At present ethnological research uses primarily two complementary methods: 
one, that of the functional school of England, and the other, that of the cultural 
historical school of Germany and Austria. The functional school explains cul- 
tures on the basis of factual material in a single culture as that culture exists 
today and attempts to show how the traits in this culture function in relation 
to one another. Thus, C. D. Gibson, 1 a functionalist, found that among the 
Herero the effect of the patrilineal system of descent is disjunctive, whereas the 
effect of the matrilineal system is conjunctive. This fact is said to account for 
the origin of the dual descent system among the Herero, but only among the 
Herero, for this school of thought believes that traits in each culture are unique 
and that features of Herero culture, for example, do not explain and should not 
be compared with similar traits in Fiji culture, for instance, or in fact in any 
other culture. This philosophically speaking, is a nominalistic approach to 
culture since it eschews universals. The method has proved to be useful to 
government officials and to psychologists. The cultural historical or compara- 
tive school of ethnology, first makes certain chronological assumptions about 
all cultures and then investigates single cultures in order to test the assumptions 
made. This, philosophically speaking, is the realistic approach to culture because 
it assumes that cultural factors are entities that can be compared and classified, 
and that their distribution can be mapped. This school assumes also that, even 
where dated history is lacking, a scientist can reconstruct historical sequences 
and events by means of a scientific analysis of the pertinent data concerning 
plants, animals, and cultural traits, and their distribution. 

The cultural historians claim that their assumptions are an aid in approach- 
ing the truth, that the validity of such assumptions depends upon the amount 
of material collected and accurately evaluated and utilized. After an extended 
cooperative survey by many ethnologists, C. Murdock 2 was able to write: "In 
all societies with full-fledged double descent the matrilineal kin groups were 
the first to be evolved, the rule of patrilineal descent representing a secondary 
development." In accordance with his method, Murdock believes that the 
same principle holds true for the Ashanti of the Gold Coast, the people of South 
India, and the Herero of South West Africa. He makes the assumption that the 
matrilineate or mother-right precedes the patrilineate or father-right. In a 
paper entitled "The Kuanyama Ambo and Other Tribes of South West 
Africa," 3 I have made the assumption that the father-right and cattle cultures 
diffused together and are later in development than the early planting culture 
and the mother-right. 4 

The purpose of this paper is to show that certain evidence in regard to the 
cultural history of Africa may cast new light upon the influences that various 
features of early Mediterranean culture had upon Africa, and especially upon 

310 Men and Cultures 

the Kuanyama Ambo of South West Africa and South Angola; and, on this 
basis to consider the Ambo culture as a geographically isolated enclave of early 
Mediterranean survivals. If this purpose is accomplished, we can learn some- 
thing of our own early civilization and of the forces that molded our present 
manner of thinking. 

Before proceeding to the main discussion it is necessary first to identify the 
Kuanyama Ambo and also to mention the terminology employed in this paper. 

The Kuanyama is the main Ambo, or Ovambo, tribe among the Bantu- 
speaking peoples of South West Africa and South Angola. All Ambo are related 
in language, custom, and origin to their southern and western neighbor, the 
Herero. Both the Ambo and the Herero are patrilocal, but the Herero, like the 
Ovimbundu of Central Angola, have a dual descent system, while the Ambo 
and related northern tribes have only matrilineal clans. A twenty-inch average 
seasonal rainfall and the periodic overflow of northern rivers permit both 
agriculture and fishing among the Ambo. The Herero, on the other hand, live 
on semi-desert velds as migratory cattle-raisers : the men herd the cattle, while 
the women do the milking and gather wild foods. The Ambo also are cattle- 
raisers, and like the Herero they have sacred and profane cattle; but the Ambo 
are more settled in habitat than the Herero, and their women cultivate sorghum 
and millet and take care of the kraal's dogs and chickens. Their male youths 
tend the sheep, goats, and cattle. Until the end of the nineteenth century, the 
Kuanyama Ambo had sacred kings. 

The terms used in this paper will include the planting culture, grain culture, 
cattle culture, the long house, the kraal, the divine kingship, sacred cattle, vestal virgins, 
the antiphonal love song, and bundling.** Although in original monographs native 
terminology should be given as well as the generic English terms, nevertheless 
such descriptive terms as these when adequately defined, 6 as well as those used 
by Frazer and other comparative ethnologists, have scientific validity both in 
nomenclature and classification either in or out of cross-cultural context. 

This paper will first call attention to five important assumptions and then 
briefly describe six traits that indicate an early Mediterranean influence on 
South West African Bantu Culture. 

1. African culture is stratified. The same stratification is present in Africa as 
in the remainder of the marginal, or primitive, Old World : that is, one finds 
the hunters, gatherers, and fishers; the horticulturists and agriculturists; live 
stock raisers; and urban populations. This stratification originates primarily 
through acculturation, war, and conquest. Among the Ambo the main stratifi- 
cation is further accentuated by the division of labor between cattle-raising men 
and agricultural women. 

2. The early Mediterranean influences were carried by cattle-raisers. With the excep- 
tion of the original hunting, gathering, and fishing cultures, African cultures 
south of the Sahara probably did not develop uninfluenced in situ. Planting 
cultures, seed cultures, the domestication of small and then of large domestic 
animals, the long house and then the round house including the kraal for 
human beings and animals the matrilineate and the patrilineate, and the 
feudal system including the divine kingship all of these probably came via 
the early Mediterranean World. The top layers of culture migrated with the 

3. The present distribution and breeds of African cattle confirm the ethnic migrations 
into Africa. Through questionnaires and genetic tests on native cattle, scientists 
in Africa 7 are able to approximate the periods of domestication and the migra- 

312 Men and Cultures 

tion paths of early pastoral peoples into Africa. The Hamitic Longhorn is 
thought to have been domesticated north of the Sahara in the 4th millennium 
B.C. It is believed that towards the end of the Neolithic period the Sinai Penin- 
sula was a main migration route through which early Mediterranean peoples 
brought the short-horned cattle (Brachyceros) to Africa. Circa 1,000 B.C. Semites 
were in Ethiopia with the Long-horned Zebu. Perhaps they crossed into Africa 
at the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb. The Ambo cattle are primarily a mixture of 
the Long-horned Zebu and the Hamitic Longhorn. 

4. A comparison of present African architectural ground plans with archeological 
sites indicates a probable cultural diffusion by way of South Arabia. The accompanying 
illustrations show a similarity between the ground plans of the elliptical temple 
of Marib in Yemen 8 and the elliptical stone ruin of Zimbabwe in South 
Rhodesia, and further similarities are evident in the plans of the Ambo kraals 
of South West Africa. Some parts of the prototype of the almost round, labyrin- 
thic, wood-stockaded kraal of South West Africa, where there is no stone 
suitable for building, may have first entered East Africa from Arabia, together 
with Arabian cattle; presumably such a structure did not come from North 
Africa 9 since the Nilotic tribes lack this feature. Possibly the Yemen temple was 
constructed by Hamitic (not Semitic) speaking peoples, for the early Hamites 
of the Canary Islands had a round labyrinth. 10 

In Yemen the early (agricultural) moon cult was displaced in archeological 
sequence by a cattle-raisers' bull cult. 11 The Kuanyama have both a moon cult 
and a bull cult. Along the Mediterranean perimeter there is a correlation 
between cattle-raising, the bull cult, the double-bladed axe and the Sky God 
cult. The double-bladed axe of Crete is said to be connected with the labyrinth, 
for in Caria in Asia Minor, the double-bladed axe, a sign of Zeus, was called 
labrys. This implement, however, apparently did not penetrate into Negro 
Africa. 12 The Kuanyama Ambo also have a cattle complex including cattle- 
raising, the labyrinth, the bull cult, and the Sky God (Kalunga). Recent studies 
suggest that the ground plans of the Kuanyama labyrinthic stockaded kraal 
and the high cultural elements associated with it came through South 
Rhodesia. 1 * 

5. The early Mediterranean cattle-culture traits entered Negro Africa from the north 
and the east. Although it is possible to discover the migratory routes of cattle 
breeds and architecture and other facets of culture it is not, at least as yet, 
possible to trace the exact path of the following cattle-culture traits : the Sky 
God with a divine king as his reincarnation; the sacred fire attended by vestal 
virgins ; sacred cattle ; an overlay of patrilineal structure on matrilineal structure 
with the resulting symmetrical cross-cousin marriage; the so-called " bride- 
price" with its attendant delayed marriage and certain courtship customs 
correlated with the delayed marriage; the lack of plastic figurine arts; and 
finally, a peculiar attitude towards twins of different sex. The remainder of 
this paper will deal with a few of these traits as exhibited by the Kuanyama 
Ambo and other cattle people under early Mediterranean influence. 

1. The sacred cattle. The cult of sacred cattle is found throughout the Mediter- 
ranean and its sphere of influence, extending into Celtic Europe and down to 
Nilotic and Bantu Africa. The literature on the subject indicates that cattle 
were originally domesticated as sacred animals and came into Negro Africa as 
sacred animals. 14 

Melville Herskovits was one of the first anthropologists to apply the principle 
of cultural stratification to Africa. He regarded the cattle complex of East 

Assumed Early Mediterranean Influence Among Kuanyama Ambo Bantu 313 

Africa as a cultural layer superimposed on an underlying agricultural com- 
plex. 15 Writing on East Africa, he stated that the natives own cattle primarily 
for power and prestige. 16 However, there was an underlying trait of sacred 
cattle even in East Africa. Some Xhosa tribes had sacred cattle held by the 
chief in trust for the tribe and used as sacrificial offerings to their ancestors. 17 

The Kuanyama kings always had their sacred herds, and, as was true among 
early Mediterranean cattle-raisers, cattle even when not sacred are the most 
important possession of the Kuanyama men. Today, the main men's ceremony 
is the cattle ceremony, in which after the rainy season a kraal owner's cattle 
are brought from the grazing outposts in a big round-up and are displayed to 
the clan members and the spirits of the clan's ancestors. In earlier times cattle 
were rarely killed except for sacrifice. The Kuanyama name their cattle and 
endow them with human qualities, whereas they show contempt for the small 
domestic animals such as dogs and chickens, which are cared for by the women. 
Cattle are still the chief exchange medium and standard of value. In the past 
cattle raiding was the major form of warfare. Moreover, when a new Kuan- 
yama king came to the throne, he had his father killed and took his cattle. 
These stolen cattle formed the nexus of the king's sacred herd. 

That the Ambo and the Herero have preserved the custom of keeping sacred 
cattle is probably due to their laws of inheritance. Most goods are inherited in 
the matrilineal line, but the sacred cattle, since they are strictly male posses- 
sions, are inherited patrilineally. 

2. The lack of plastic figurine arts. The accompanying maps show that the area 
of African Negro sculpture (and therefore often of masked secret societies) and 
the area of the tse-tse fly and non-milking agricultural Africa tend to coincide. 
The maps also indicate that the routes of early Mediterranean cattle cultures 
were along the Great Rift highlands. 

The Kuanyama are not a nomadic people. True nomads have horses and 
camels rather than cattle. Although the Kuanyama young men and boys 
practice transhumance they graze cattle up north during the driest season 
and the floods of the following rainy season it is obvious that mobility of 
population does not account for the lack of idols among the Kuanyama. 
Moreover, the Kuanyama do have pottery and wood carving. The reason for 
their having neither idols nor fetishes is that the intrusive Mediterranean 
cattle-people did not bring these into Africa. The Mediterranean agricultural 
peoples, like all early agriculturists, had idols and images, but the Homeric 
Greeks and the Hindus of the Rig Veda did not, nor do the orthodox Jews and 
Arabs of today. 18 

3. The delayed marriage and prolonged courtship customs. Among people with 
early cattle culture the position of women, especially young women, is quite 
high. Owing to the knowledge that early anthropologists had of Arabic, Greek, 
Roman, and Hindu customs they usually stated that the position of women 
deteriorated when cattle people gained the upper hand over matrilineal 
agricultural people. Even in 1953 Narr wrote that with this event the influence of 
women was severely diminished, and the right of free marital choice abrogated. 19 
Authors of the Kulturkreise school dramatize the subjection of women by 
claiming that the secret societies passed from the hands of women into those of 
men. 20 Political influence and marital free choice are not, however, necessarily 
connected, and secret societies are found among agricultural peoples and not 
among cattle-raisers. Among the agricultural people of Negro Africa, marriages 
at an early age are arranged for the women and the bride has little voice in 

314 Men and Cultures 

choosing her first husband. Among cattle people of Africa, however, there is 
usually a long period of courtship ending with the payment of the so-called 
bride price which is actually the payment of a fee for the children that are to 
be born. The girl has some choice in the matter of a husband. Features of the 
long courtship are bundling and the singing of antiphonal love songs. These 
songs are similar in form and function throughout the cattle area from the 
Kuanyama Ambo throughout pastoral Africa, Europe, and Asia. They came to 
South West Africa, together with the other courtship customs, from early 
Mediterranean cultures. 21 

4. The belief of the supernatural origin of twins among cattle raisers. 22 Generally, 
cattle-raisers like twin calves and twin children. Both are signs of fertility. As 
do all marginal peoples, however, cattle-raisers believe also that twins are 
supernatural and dangerous, and they kill them unless they can render them 
innocuous by elaborate and costly ceremonies. Tribes who have the neces- 
sary wealth for such birth ceremonies even venerate twins. In South West 
Africa the rich eastern Ambo preserve twins, but the poorer western Ambo kill 

The Ambo formerly killed one or both twins born to royalty. The twins 
would have had royal names and powers and thus would have upset the laws 
of matrilineal succession. 

In their treatment of twins, peoples with a divine kingship often differentiate 
between those of like and of unlike sex. As among the Kuanyama, twins of 
unlike sex are said to have had intercourse in the womb and therefore, if they 
are allowed to live, they must remain married for life. Formerly in India and 
at present in Bali this form of incest is allowed only to royal twins ; among the 
Kuayama, however, only twins of commoners are allowed to live and remain 
married. The Kuanyama rejoice at the marriage of twins since they are con- 
sidered to be two spirits of different sexes with one personality, and thus to form 
a complete being. The Kuanyama conceive of their High God as a bisexual 
being, and also think it good luck to have intercourse with a hermaphrodite. 
This attitude toward the "bisexual being" is said to be Mediterranean in 
origin because, according to a recent work by Hermann Baumann, 23 in this 
whole area the bisexual gods preceded the male gods. 

5. Vestal virgins, and 6. the sacred fire. Throughout the Old and New Worlds 
the vestal virgins and the sacred fire were formerly connected with the divine 
kingship. 24 The sacred perpetual fire that the virgins tended had to be kept 
alive for the sake of the king and his kingdom. In later times the idea of the 
sacred fire tended to become obliterated. In West Africa the vestal virgins 
perhaps became temple priestesses or Amazons; in Babylonia they probably 
became temple prostitutes, and in Ireland they became nuns. 25 In Africa all 
the vestal virgins were below the age of puberty so that they might not con- 
taminate the sacred fire at the time of their menstruation. 

The sacred fire was found formerly in South Angola and South West Africa. 20 
Among the Kuanyama Ambo in former days a young girl from the Roan 
Antelope Clan lit the king's sacred fires. When the king died this girl was buried 
alive with him in order to light his fire in the next world. A daughter of his 
head wife could also light his fire. Today a native kraal owner has his head wife 
light his sacred fire in the main sitting place. 

During the times of their migrations, the Ambo, like the ancient Greeks, 
always carried their sacred fire with them. They thus preserved their bond with 
the mother settlement. 27 

Assumed Early Mediterranean Influence Among Kuanyama Ambo Bantu 315 


Granting that ethnographic traits have cartographic value, the Kuanyama 
Ambo appear to belong to a group of tribes in South Angola and South West 
Africa who are an enclave of ancient Mediterranean survivals. This assump- 
tion has been made on the bases of cattle migrations, the sacred cattle, the 
labyrinthic round kraal for people and cattle, the lack of plastic figurine arts 
among the cattle people including the Kuanyama, courtship customs featuring 
bundling and the unique and widely dispersed antiphonal love song, the atti- 
tude towards twins of different sexes, and the connection of the divine king 
with vestal virgins and the sacred fire. The migrations of early Mediterranean 
cultural influences are assumed to have come into Negro Africa both by way 
of the north and by way of South Arabia. 

The University of California, 
Berkeley, California. 


1. Gibson, G. D., "Double Descent and its Correlates among the Herero of Ngami- 
land," American Anthropologist, 58: (1) 135, 1956. 

2. Murdock, G., Social Structure, New York, 1949, p. 218. 

3. Loeb, E. M., Anthropos, 41-44, 1946-1949, pp. 848-852. 

4. Owing to the absence of an indigenous true cattle culture in the New World, 
American anthropologists have often omitted in their studies a consideration of primi- 
tive social stratifications or correlations between economy and social organization. 
Recently, however, three foremost scholars, a geographer, a historian, and a German 
ethnologist, have indicated their belief in the correlation between forms of economy 
and social organization. 

The geographer, Carl Sauer, writes, "In Kamchatka, the Alaskan Peninsula, Kodiak, 
and on the coast of British Columbia, there were matrilineal societies, living in multi- 
family houses, with notions of property, prestige, and art forms which are about what 
might be left of Southeast Asiatic culture from which an adverse environment had 
eliminated certain possibilities, in particular agriculture." (Agricultural Origins and 
Dispersals, New York, 1952, p. 55.) 

The historian, G. Quigley, believes, on the basis of the distribution of fish poisons, 
that there was a diffusion of the matrilineal root-planting, rain-forest cultures " across 
the South Atlantic from Africa to South America." ("Aboriginal Fish Poisons and the 
Diffusion Problem," American Anthropologist, 58 : (3) 513, 1956.) 

The ethnologist, K. Narr, likewise indicates that the early planting culture was 
matrilineal. "The characteristic house of the root-planting people is the rectangular 
house. . . . Planting culture is mostly a mother-right culture, and differs from the 
culture of father-right cattle people." ("Hirten, Pflanzer, Bauern: Produktionsstufe," 
in Historia Mundi, Bern, 1953, Vol. II, p. 91.) 

5. The antiphonal love song and bundling arc fully described in " Courtship and the Love 
Song," Anthropos, 45 : 821-851, 1950, by the author. 

6. A similar discussion with space devoted to denning terms will appear in the book 
now under preparation, The Kuanyama Ambo of South West Africa by the author. 

7. Gurson, M., and Thornton, R., "A Contribution to the Study of African Native 
Cattle," The Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Science, 7 : 613-747, maps 738-739, 1936. 

8. Phillips, W., Qataban and Sheba, New York, 1955; plan on p. 285. 

9. Deedes, G. N., in Hooke, S. (Ed.), The Labyrinth, London, 1935, p. 7. Deedes, 
however, believes that the labyrinthic king's tomb originated in Egypt. 

10. Torriana, L., Die Kanarischen Inseln und Ihre Urbewohner, Leipzig, 1940, Plate XII a. 

11. Phillips, W., op. cit., p. 227. 

316 Men and Cultures 

12. Mathews, W., Mazes and Labyrinths, London, 1922, p. 34. "The German archae- 
ologist Schliemann during his researches at Mycenae on the mainland, unearthed from 
one of the graves an ox-head of gold plate with a double axe between the upright 
horns." (Mathews, W., loc. cit. y p. 34.) 

13. Loeb, E., "The Kuanyama Ambo and Other Tribes of South West Africa," 
Anthropos, 41-44, 1946-49, p. 851. This publication states, "The Ambo kraal appears as 
a wooden model of the Zimbabwe stone fortified city." 

Fuller, G., "Can the Living Explain the Past in Rhodesia?" African Studies, 11 : 182, 
1952. In apparent agreement with the above observation, Fuller states, "The Rhodesian 
walled habitations, constructed of natural rock with dry mortar technic at some un- 
determined date by an unknown people, find a modern counterpart of floor plan in the 
present habitations of the Ovambo and other peoples of Southern Angola and the 
Northwestern part of South West Africa." 

14. Towne, C., and Wentworth, E., Cattle and Men, Oklahoma, 1955, p. 45. The 
Egyptians are said originally to have regarded all cattle as sacred, cows as well as bulls. 

Rose, M., Ancient Greek Religion, London, 1946, p. 57. In the 12th book of the Odyssey 
mention is made of a herd of cattle sacred to the sun god, Apollo. This is reasonable, 
since in his earliest form Apollo appears to have been a god of herdsmen. 

MacGulloch, J., The Celtic and Skandinavian Religions, London, 1948, p. 137. The 
Germanic tribes also had herds of sacred cattle, as those sacred to the god Fosite in 

Roscoe, J., The Bakitara or Banyoro, Cambridge, 1923, pp. 77, 78. The sanctity and 
worship of cattle among the African Nilotic peoples is a well attested fact. This is espe- 
cially marked among the Nilotic Bakitara of Uganda. 

Loeb, E. M., India is noted for the sanctity of its cattle and their four products. The 
Toda also have their herds of sacred water buffalo. Perhaps the Minotaur of Crete 
indicates bull worship, as the Apis cult of ancient Egypt certainly did. 

15. Herskovits, M., "The Cattle Complex in East Africa," American Anthropologist, 
28 : 636, 1926. 

16. Ibid., p. 650. 

17. Schapera, I., Western Civilization and the Natives of South Africa, London, 1934, 
p. 14. 

18. Sollas, W., Ancient Hunters, New York, 1924. Marginal agricultural peoples are 
not alone in their possession of plastic arts. Cro-Magnon as well as circumpolar peoples 
are noted for fine plastic arts, while the Bushmen had realistic paintings and stone 
engravings. As already mentioned, the circumpolar plastic art extended down to the 
Northwest Coast of North America. This fine art of early hunters and fishers has been 
attributed by Sollas and others to a single complex. 

19. Narr, K., op. cit., p. 81. 

20. Schmidt, W., Origin and Growth of Religion, New York, 1931, p. 67. Robert Lowie 
has objected to this assumption, calling it evolutionary. (Lowie, R. E., The History of 
Ethnological Theory, New York, 1937, p. 190.) 

21. Loeb, E. M., "Courtship and the Love Song," Anthropos, 45 : 821-859, 1950. 

22. Loeb, E. M., "The Twin Cult in the Old World and the New World," The Rivet 
Anniversary Volume (in press) . 

23. Baumann, H., Das Doppelte Geschlecht, Berlin, 1955, p. 366. Baumann did not 
realize that natives sometimes distinguish in nomenclature and treatment between 
twins of like and different sex and hence he failed to bolster his theory of the importance 
of bisexual beings in archaic Mediterranean culture by using twins as examples. 

24. Frazer, J., The Golden Bough, London, 1932, Vol. II, pp. 195-265. 

Frazer apparently was correct in his theory that the vestal virgins of Rome were at 
first part of the king's family, and later were simply under the patri potestas of the king, 
and still later of the Pontifex Maximus. He was also correct in assuming that the early 
Latins lived in round clay huts (cattle-raisers' huts). The temple of the vestal virgins was 
round. Frazer was probably wrong in assuming that the sacred perpetual fire was 
derived from the custom of the most marginal peoples of maintaining fire continuously 
before they were capable of kindling it. 

Assumed Early Mediterranean Influence Among Kuanyama Ambo Bantu 317 

Roscoe, J., The Baganda, London, 1911, p. 275. Among the Baganda, it was not only 
the king who had a sacred fire and vestal virgins, for vestal virgins took care also of the 
sacred fires in most of the temples. 

Wolfel, D., Die Religionen des Vorindogermanischen Europa, Vienna, no date, p. 345. A 
sacred perpetual fire was kept burning in the king's palace at Tara, the ancient capital 
of all Ireland. 

Glacken, G., The Great Loochoo, Berkeley, 1955, p. 286. In Okinawa the noro priestesses 
guarded the sacred fire. This cult is supposed to have come from ancient Japan where 
still today there is an excellent example of a divine king. 

Frazer, loc. cit., pp. 243-245. In the New World, in Inca Peru, the home of llama 
herding, there is the same complex of the divine king, the vestal virgins, and the per- 
petual sacred fire. 

25. Frazer, loc. '/., p. 240. In Kildare, Ireland, nineteen nuns of St. Brigit tended a 
perpetual fire down to the time of the suppression of the monasteries under Henry VIII, 

26. Vedder, H., "The Berg Damara" in The Native Tribes of South West Africa. 
Capetown, 1928, p. 48. The perpetual sacred fire tended by vestal virgins who belong 
to the divine king's family is a complex belonging to higher cultures. Some of the traits 
have spread to more marginal peoples. For example, in South West Africa the black- 
skinned Berg Dama[ra] have taken the sacred fire from the Herero, but not the vestal 

27. The perpetual sacred fire belongs definitely to the cattle culture of the Old World, 
and will not be found among the primitive hunters, fishers, and gatherers, such as the 
Pygmies and Bushmen. The reason for the occurrence of this trait in the New World 
remains to be discovered. 


Henry Orenstein 

The theoretical problem of the impact of water works on sociopolitical organiz- 
ation is not a new one. In modern times it was first adumbrated by Karl 
Marx. Since then such culture historians and anthropologists as Childe, Sapper, 
Breasted, and Strong have commented upon the relation between irrigation 
and society. The most elaborate theory on the subject has been put forth by 
K. A. Wittfogel. 

Wittfogel contends that large scale irrigation produces a specific type of 
society to which he has ascribed various terms : Asiatic Society, Oriental Des- 
potism, Hydraulic Society, Oriental Society. 1 The size of this type of society 
may vary greatly; it may be national, regional, or possibly even communal in 
scope. 2 It is characterized by a highly centralized bureaucratic political 
organization, in which absolute power is exercised over the population. 3 It is 
also associated with a greater emphasis on males in the affected societies 4 and 
a tendency to accentuate the nuclear family as against the joint family. 6 

I will test one feature of the Wittfogel theory; that which has to do with the 
breakdown of the joint family. I will consider the effects of the introduction of 
irrigation on fifty-nine villages in one administrative division in the district of 
Poona; Bombay, India. About one half of the villages in this division receive 
water from the left bank canal of the Nira River constructed in 1894 while 
the remainder depend solely on well irrigation. 

Before presenting the data, some comment should be made on the suitability 
of India as a testing ground for the theory. The theory was formulated with 
reference to societies in which irrigation was an indigenous phenomenon; and 
our data are taken from a land in which the significant modern irrigation 
projects were introduced by a foreign conqueror. (Although many existed prior 
to the British, these are not important in the contemporary economy.) Further- 
more, the British unified most of India under a single administration, and only 
after this were irrigation projects of appreciable size constructed. Thus, in 
most cases in India, one could not attempt to evaluate the political significance 
of irrigation. However, the portion of Wittfogel's theory which I intend to 
test refers to the family, a sociological phenomenon, so it would not be un- 
reasonable to assume that if the theory is correct, this feature of it should apply 
to modern India. 

There is one other possible objection. Contemporary India has been subjected 
to so many influences from the West ideas as well as technical devices that 
the effects of irrigation on family organization (if there are any) may not be 
discernible. The only response that can be made to this is to try to establish 
relationships, to see if they are, in fact, discernible. 

As I see it, the possible effects which irrigation may have on the joint family 
are due to its immediate economic consequences. Irrigation often accentuates 
the importance of cash crops and a money economy. Where income is primarily 
for direct consumption, the joint family stores its produce in one unit and uses 

Irrigation, Settlement Pattern, and Social Organization 319 

it when needed. But when a large part of income is in cash, its joint use becomes 
complicated, and it is a fact that a number of joint families are divided because 
of quarrels over the disposition of money income. 

In my survey of the fifty-nine villages, I attempted to find out whether those 
villages which have more irrigation are the ones which have a lower percentage 
of joint families. 6 A summary of the data is presented in the contingency table 
below. The figures in the table give the number of villages. 

Average acreage under irrigation for 
households of village 

0-.9 1.0-1.9 2.0-13.0 Totals 

Per cent of households 0-25% 5 5 15 25 

in village owning 26-60% 7 17 10 34 

land jointly Totals 12 22 25 59 

A cursory glance at the table shows that the relationship is precisely what might 
be expected from WittfogePs theory; those villages which have a greater mean 
acreage under irrigation per household tend to have a smaller percentage of 
joint families. This relationship is established by the chi-square test. Chi- 
square is approximately 9.5; and when this is checked against Fisher's table 
(Ref. 2, Table III; P = 0.05), we see that it is considerably greater than the 
value he gives (5.99). Thus, we may assume that the relationship between 
mean irrigated acreage per household and per cent of joint families is signi- 

In an effort further to explicate this aspect of Wittfogel's theory, I have 
formulated two hypotheses, placing an intervening variable between irrigation 
and the attenuation of the joint family. (1) Local territorially based social 
groups will be weakened under the impact of irrigation. In the fifty-nine 
villages, this involves a dispersion of the households of each community. (2) 
Accompanying this there will be a tendency to weaken kinship based on groups 
such as the joint family. 

The first hypothesis was conceived while doing an ethnographic study of one 
village in the area. It was noticed that almost half the population lived outside 
the main settlement near their farms. This was clearly related to a breakdown 
of social cohesion in the village. Among those who had left the main settlement, 
the tendency was to participate less in community life. Many came to the main 
settlement only when it was necessary to do so for payment of taxes, examination 
of records, and other official matters. 

It appeared likely that the movements to the farms were caused by irrigation. 
Irrigation results in an increase in land value, and farmers are thus more 
likely to move nearer to their lands. Furthermore, the introduction of a new crop, 
sugar cane, resulted in year-round agricultural labor, for the crop requires 
almost continual watering. Unirrigated crops usually involve only a few months